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Okay, stupid idea or great idea

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Not_Sure, Aug 1, 2020.

?

Bad idea or good idea?

  1. Bad!

    1 vote(s)
    25.0%
  2. Good!

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. I’d give it a try.

    3 vote(s)
    75.0%
  1. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Posts:
    2,708
    A MOBA... with all the math hidden and no words.

    Hear me out.

    One of the most entertaining aspects of games is learning the systems to get a competitive edge.

    So what if you didn’t have anything explained at all and you had to learn through trial and error?

    I mean you can get an idea of things based on pictures or the appearance of characters.

    But it’s actual underlining mechanics are completely unexplained.

    And no numbers popping up when you hit someone.

    You can see the amount of life taken from an enemy by how much life is taken from their life bar. But it’s up to you to figure out if they have high armor or high hp.

    Just a thought experiment.

    What do you think your take away from that experience would be?

    EDIT: oh, and no names for anything to make discussing them more difficult, forcing people to actually do it themselves.
     
  2. dgoyette

    dgoyette

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2016
    Posts:
    3,201
    The main problem, as I see it, is that you'll just create a massive trial-and-error simulator. Experimenting with a system, and discovering its behaviors, can be a very enjoyable experience. But if the system is extremely complex, it just feels random. I'm imagining playing the game you described, where I find a new piece of equipment. Maybe it's a sword, kind of looks like it's made of metal. Is it any good? Not sure. I'll have to try it out. So I use it, and it seems...normal. Not sure if it's better or worse than what I already have. Maybe it has a random proc effect that does something cool 2% of the time? I'd have to use this thing for a long time to find out.

    Now I find a piece of armor, and put it on. Go fight something, and things feel pretty much the same. It's really hard to tell if the item is better or worse.

    Anyway, I think being completely opaque about everything just makes it feel like I have to trial-and-error every little thing, which really isn't enjoyable. Having some mystery in the game is good, and having some complex things you need to figure out is also good. But everything? Seems too overwhelming.
     
  3. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Posts:
    2,708
    Well I envision that items would be the same from game to game from a shop. So you wouldn’t “find it”, but rather have multiple chances to figure out what it does.

    Now layer that with, say, a weapon that does +75% damage for 5 seconds after using an ability with a 20 second cool down.

    You can see how the player would 1) figure out that it does bonus damage after an ability, but then 2) figuring out its not random but requires a cool down.

    Then give it a couple of months and change it to after 5 consecutive hits.

    Then in another couple of months change it to versus players who are 3 levels or higher than you.

    The moment someone “gets it” it’s changed.
     
  4. dgoyette

    dgoyette

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2016
    Posts:
    3,201
    That might actually be one of the most concise descriptions of a truly awful experience I've ever read. :) Mastering a system is generally a reward in itself. To see your mastery swept away, because everything has inexplicably changed, is a pretty bad feeling.

    Mostly, though, I think you're vastly overestimating how rewarding it will feel to figure out some of this stuff. I've played a fair number of games that have gone the minimal route, where they expect players to figure things out on their own. Usually, with those games, I find myself being confused about weird edge case behaviors that seems to happen once in a while, but which I can't consistently get to happen. Usually much later I'll actually "get it". The feeling is typically meh.

    Discovery can be an important part of a game. It's rewarding to fiddle with a machine and see what happens. But I think it's a delicate balance. Do it wrong, and it just feels like I'm expected to brute force try every possible combination of things until I notice a pattern. That's usually extremely tedious.

    So, maybe there's something here, but the way you describe it feels too extreme. Maybe you can describe some other games that approached the level of trial and error you're describing, to explore what they did right?
     
    JoeStrout likes this.
  5. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2014
    Posts:
    2,389
    Looks like somebody just read Master-Frog's old thread.

    https://forum.unity.com/threads/a-narrative-absent-game-spurning-convention.920804/

    I think you could start out with something simple and see if people like it. You've got a sword that does slashing damage, and a bow-and-arrow (or spear?) that does piercing damage, and a maul or something that does blunt damage. Then you have a few enemy types that are susceptible to one or two of those. See if people engage with the differences or just pick one of the weapons. Maybe have enemy AI that does certain things, like a boss enemy that amplifies the attacks of other enemies while he's alive (all this hidden of course).
     
    Not_Sure likes this.
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