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Feature Request "PORK - CHOPPED" -- Frenzy Gameplay

Discussion in 'Open Projects' started by awesomedata, Oct 27, 2020.

  1. awesomedata

    awesomedata

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    I think the pacing of the game as a generic third-person walkabout feels particularly slow and uninspiring when compared to the vibrant art / characterizations offered in the concept art.
    The pacing of the gameplay itself really NEEDS to match.

    So... to combat this... I am suggesting a "Frenzy" gameplay feature.

    Some backstory to provide insight into the humorous direction I'm thinking, if you're interested:
    There was a fun game on the PS2 called Radiata Stories that let you randomly kick _any_ NPC you wanted. If they got mad enough (and everyone got mad at some point), you could get into a fight with anyone in the game. This was just a fun quirk though. You didn't get any EXP or any kind of reward for it (which kind of sucked), but it was still very interesting to see what kind of unique dialogue the NPCS had when it responded to your highly deviant behaviors. :)

    The "Frenzy" feature would be an NPC state that triggers when swiping a knife (or some other dangerous object) at NPCs (who are otherwise friendly). After a certain threshold of warnings, the NPC would either run away from the player, or enter "Frenzy" mode (and attack the player back on the spot). The player must either run or defend his way out of the situation (i.e. use some food as a trap -- for example, setting down a "Bomb-bastic Cherry Jubillee" -- or -- "Bedtime Burger" to stop the NPC or put the NPC to sleep so the player can escape. If the player escapes though, the enemy will 'remember' the interaction -- and may even seek to get revenge (or a meal!) by "hunting" the player outside of town (that is -- it spawns from the bushes or trees or behind a rock, or jumps from the ocean, etc, in order to attack the player while he's hunting for ingredients).

    The way I see it -- most players (who like food) will naturally see the player and NPC's as "food" already.

    This needs to be acknowledged somehow in gameplay -- especially since this game already has a strong "food" theme. Most players will already be inclined to find a way to "attack" the NPCs for no reason already in a "peaceful" game like this -- mainly just to discover what happens. So we should give them something unexpected (and more importantly -- exciting! -- because, in general, players will expect to be able to interact with the NPCs with any available buttons. They will be disappointed if they can't get _some_ kind of satisfying reaction to their probing cookware onslaught in the direction of some seemingly "helpless" NPC.
    While many games "punish" the player for this (arguably "natural" interaction), I think the NPCs themselves should seek the player out as "food" in certain cases, and deliver their own "food" justice.
    After all, if your pig man wants to chop on a fish man (from a distant land) with a knife, don't you think that fish-man (from a distant land) ought to either run away, or, potentially, even respond in kind? Maybe that fish man (from a distant land) has always wanted to taste pork? -- Our protagonist has just given him a reason (and the ingredients) to do so.
    To keep things kid-friendly -- a truce can be made if you "win" the fight for standard town NPCs (so that the town doesn't run out of NPCs). The NPC could cower in fear when you approach him again later on (thanks to Freeform Animation Rigging making blending poses like this easy), but if you run away, he either won't talk to you (or isn't very friendly), or, most dangerously, warns you to watch your back, as he could jump out from the bushes or the ocean to get you -- especially if he happens to fancy pork. This could be a funny reminder to the player that, yes, even YOU are "food" to someone. :)


    Some gameplay advantages that could come out of this mechanic:

    1. Acknowledges the game's "food" theme in a stronger, more clear, (less-generic) way
    2. Gives an additional purpose to meals / ingredients (i.e. "Bombastic-Cherry-Jubilee" can be used as an explosive, or a "Bedtime Burger" can put enemies to sleep)
    3. Secret gourmet ingredients like "fish fin" that can only be obtained by i.e. "fighting" a specific fish man NPC or other special ingredients can be found this way
    4. More engaging play experience than simply opening treasure-chests / chatting with NPCs
    5. Clears some "barriers" to enter another area -- (i.e. by making the NPC run away in fear!) -- (Chop Chop!)
    6. Adds a secondary (unconventional) "ingredient-hunting" mechanic that other (sketchy) NPC's might mention off-handedly, adding a layer of mystery to the game's hidden mechanics (and therefore increases depth and replayability)
    7. Acts as a mechanism to initiate scripted fights with "Boss" monster NPCs, letting you truly "cook" them for their ingredients (as you normally would), rather than simply triggering a cutscene accidentally (and automatically).
    8. Keep the player wary that he is also "food" by reminding him to be on the lookout for "surprise" attacks from the bushes (or from the ocean) by other town-based NPCs out to get a taste of bacon. I mean, come on -- who doesn't love a little bacon??

    I'll draw out an interaction map if anyone thinks this is worthwhile -- I think the depth it provides is HUGE and is sorely needed in the current design.



    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
  2. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    Lots of new ideas here, some fun, some a little potentially too serious for the direction/feel of the game.

    In the end, as Ciro likes to say (paraphrasing) "keep in mind someone has to program/do animations/do dialogue/etc for each idea, and we only have limited time," so balance is the key.
     
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  3. awesomedata

    awesomedata

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    Sure -- please elaborate! :)


    Also:

    I think the "finding someone to program/do animations/do dialogue/etc. for each idea wouldn't be a problem at all.

    I myself would volunteer.

    There are too many people, including myself, who are chomping at the bit to get involved with implementing any number of interactions. A small team of maybe 5, and I might call these ideas a bit ambitious -- but a team of more than 100?

    Sure, it complicates the game loop a little bit, but this is a vertical slice of a modern game, right? -- In a modern market, it would need to stand out in a way that separates it from the rest of the crowd, and to have a "frenzy" feature that would ramp up its "funny" / "vibrant" factor (especially in its core gameplay loop!) would be ideal for putting together the much-needed "sizzle" reel for the game -- especially in the initial marketing steps.
    To say this game is about food -- ALL kinds of food -- and have that be reflected in a less-than-generic gameplay loop (and therefore player experience) would really show that @Unity was taking this project's development seriously.

    Just my two-cents. :)
     
  4. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    I do not agree that "most" players want to "attack" NPCs. Hamlet is a chef that understands the food chain, I would think trying to make other characters part of said food chain is too serious and would confuse players into thinking the point of the game is to kill the NPCs to cook, which was already shot down on the first page of the Official Dialogue and Narrative thread when @michaelgrilo asked if Hamlet would use the critters as the ingredients (a few posts later Ciro said the spin is the ingredients are near the critters).

    "Boss" NPCs sound fun, but we haven't discussed characters being all around the island except for Bard Hare. The rest are in the town supposedly. The idea of cooking dishes to pass critters in certain areas has been brought up many times in the cooking/gameplay thread, maybe there could be "boss" critters that're bigger/more complex versions of the current critters.

    Since the base systems in the game aren't even completed yet, how would all these 100s of people be able to consolidate into something cohesive? Part of the challenges of such a large team is not keeping everyone gainfully engaged, but managing communication between all the disparate parts, trying to make sure everyone has the same vision/focus and doesn't go off on tangents that could spiral into something unmanageable.

    For example, if what's happening with the inventory and gameplay discussion is anything to go by, many of the complex ideas that've been presented for cooking just aren't going to happen. I expect similar things will happen with NPCs since these ideas are going to add an extra layer to the dialogue and interaction systems, which also haven't been fully fleshed out yet.

    While I can understand the worry about boring gameplay, the message I've taken away from all communications so far has been that this is a learning process to go through the motions of game development at the most granular level with the community. From my perspective, not necessarily Unity's, this project doesn't have to be the best of the best to be a success, and while yes there are hundreds of people interested in contributing, not all of the ideas can be executed to a satisfactory level to make it into the game. That's a fact of all development, not just games.

    Everyone has ideas, and I'm not trying to discourage anyone from contributing, just trying to provide my perspective from a systems management perspective, as that's part of my day job and a big part of how I've been trying to help here on the forums. You are 10000% allowed to start developing something and creating a PR to go into the main repository, just need to make sure your proposal conforms to the coding standards, accounts for the existing systems, and doesn't introduce anything that's unclear to others or unmaintainable.

    I'd love to see what you can come up with, just be aware that there might be some missing pieces your proposal will have to wait on. Either way, good luck!
     
  5. awesomedata

    awesomedata

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    I never said "want" -- just "inclined" to try.
    And what happens if you try and your "attack" goes through said NPC? -- You get disappointed that nothing happened.


    I never said make them "part" of the food chain -- I simply suggested to sometimes get secret / special ingredients if you attack them in some special cases (i.e. getting a "fish-fin" from the fish man so you'd leave him alone and not threaten him again). The player can justify his own reasoning for why he/she "attacks" the NPC -- but whether or not they want to play by the vanilla rules, clearly they should at least get a reaction as a "reward" to their actions (even if this ultimately "damages" the player character in some way).

    The trade-off is that, if you "attack" the NPC (and you fail to win by running away), that NPC is likely to hunt you down. The island is full of a wide spectrum of different species. Maybe they just assumed you were trying to eat them -- and Hamlet is just a bit unhinged?
    Who knows?
    The player is in the role, so only the player should be allowed to decide what kind of pig he/she wants Hamlet to be.
    So if the player decides Hamlet should be a delinquent, why take away the option?


    Seems reasonable!


    You don't need the base systems -- you only need the base design.
    This is something Unity can easily provide (or assign someone to provide), but the first step to any creative endeavor is to brainstorm on the scope of and reach of each potential system and then determining clear reasoning about why this scope was chosen (or return to the drawing board to try again).



    Again -- scope is critical here.

    The ideas I've suggested above aren't meant to increase the scope (or scale) of the project -- only to add much-needed interest.

    Sure, you can go design 20 giant, unwieldy, systems with experience points, items, crafting, etc. -- but out of all of those three examples, not a single one affects the player's moment-to-moment experience of the game. "Oh, another menu? Okay. This many things? Okay. I grabbed one of those things, now I have more? Okay." -- but in the end the player always asks "Now that I have those things -- What can I actually DO with them?" -- or in other words, "How does this obtuse menu-system actually affect my play experience?"

    If nobody in charge of development understands how powerful a simple hidden bit of gameplay or a simple hidden action/item/dialogue-choice is to a player (offered as a reward to the player for trying unconventional things), then yes -- a spiraling tangent into something completely unmanageable (and ultimately pretty boring) is inevitable.
    But that's with or without communication. On top of that, you can't expect 100 people to ALL maintain the exact same vision. That's just not how game development works. The exact same project requirements on the other hand -- that's a whole different set of expectations, which are actually quite workable.


    This isn't necessarily true at all.

    Again -- This is a product of brainstorming and scope definition.

    Once you have your scope, you can start linking things together (including your systems) from there, following the flow of logic. This is where double-checking is important by your tech designers.
    If your dialogue UI needs to know about items/ingredients, why not make the system generic enough that it can grab the data itself. For example, regardless of whether the data is for an ingredient or a set of equipment, you might want simply stats, a description string, a name, and maybe a picture. Do you really need to know about your whole inventory at that time? -- Or do you just need to know the number of items of that particular name it has? Less is more.


    In a sense, that's a given -- but this is not a "game" -- this is a vertical slice of a game.

    In a vertical slice, you are showing the crux of all that your game is capable of -- so while, yes, a prototype doesn't need much (or any) polish, for an actual product, you need to pull out all the stops and show what the look/feel is, and demonstrate the game loop to an acceptable level based on what players would experience and ultimately find "acceptable" -- but not the level you yourself would accept, but establish whether players would buy a game of this quality -- or does the project need more or less of something? You are essentially establishing your list of "ingredients" as well as how much of these are used (i.e. their specific flavor) by establishing a vertical slice. The experience doesn't have to come to a conclusion -- it just has to show enough of the experience that you can get an accurate understanding of the game's feel. At this point (if you choose to proceed), your modelers, scripters, etc. can begin working independently and establish a flow based on the overall product-as-vision. Story, scale, and complexity can then be increased from there -- but with a vertical slice, you can establish a timeframe for your project and how many resources (more importantly -- how much more of a budget) your project would need to complete -- and how well it is being received already (in its current state). Though since this is a mock-project (and "budget" isn't a real concern), I'm not sure about the quality standards. However, I don't think @Unity is half-assing this project.


    I'm sure @cirocontinisio would agree with my assessment too, yeah?




    Thanks for your permission. And the ground rules. But in case you haven't figured it out by now -- I'm not new to this. I know you had no way of knowing this beforehand, so I'm not holding it against you. However, honestly, I'm only brainstorming right now where I see "holes" in the project (in this case, where gameplay is concerned), so I was just having a little fun tossing around ideas.

    I would appreciate it if we all kept it to that, if you wouldn't mind?



    Thanks!

    And honestly, if you don't think it's fun to "attack" NPCs, that's fine by me -- but I'm curious if others share the same view that absolutely _nothing_ should happen when a player "attacks" an NPC (or hovers around them with a sharp knife, staring at them, for example).


    I think the surprise of an NPC reacting to your suspicious presence (even if it is just him eyeballing the knife you're carrying a bit suspiciously) would make the world feel just THAT tiny bit more vibrant and alive.
    And to carry this into an actual interaction would be icing on the cake for some players who never would have suspected good ol' Hamlet to be a bit... 'unhinged'?
    I liken this back to Link breaking people's pots all over Hyrule to steal hearts and rupees -- it's a bit of an inside joke, but it really is a bit twisted when you think about it.
     
  6. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    @awesomedata I did not intend for this discussion to be you and me going back and forth, point-for-point, and I certainly didn't want to "give my permission" for anything, as I am no authority here.

    The reason I quoted Ciro originally is because there are a lot of people posting ideas here (myself included) that may not be capable of executing them on their own in the right timeframe or at least haven't offered a next step, and many have only just started posting to the forums for this initiative (again myself included).

    I somehow glossed over how you already had a plan (the interactions map), were ready, willing, and able to do it yourself, and already have a good track record of posts on the overall Unity forums, so my apologies there. You clearly have a more informed perspective than I do, so thank you for clarifying a few things for me.

    I really would like to see what you can do, and I wouldn't mind pitching in if there was anything I could do to help.

    Also, I hope how this conversation started doesn't discourage others from providing their own perspective here as well.
     
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  7. davejrodriguez

    davejrodriguez

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    @shuttle127 If you've spent any time on the forums, you should have known you had no choice ;) Post history is a collection of multi-paragraph, copiously-formatted, condescending manifestos. Case study in being right and wrong at the same time.

    Rhetoric aside, I think there are some good ideas here. A "tall grass" mechanic might be good for higher chance of spawning enemies when main character goes into forest/ocean for ingredients. Also gourmet dishes and using dishes with effects (calming dish, dish that makes enemy fall asleep, spicy dish makes enemy flee) as a "combat" mechanism has been mentioned before and I like it.
     
  8. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    In the words of my students (one of my side jobs that also prevents me from writing better code here), "ya hate to see it."

    Somehow when I saw "tall grass", I instinctively went to my "mud camouflage" idea from the combat thread. Can we make that a thing again? :p
     
  9. awesomedata

    awesomedata

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    Thanks for your kind reply. Your acknowledgement makes things feel a lot less tense around these parts. :)



    The lack of tension was nice -- at least until I read this post.

    Great job making your feelings about me known. Though, what's the point in trying to get others to share your negative feelings about me by passive-aggressively starting stuff with me in this thread? -- Are you just bored? -- Are you trying to find a 'friend' to gang up on me with? -- Whatever it is, it's a waste of time. Just like defending myself to the likes of you. Though, just like your "oh, I don't like his tone in his posts, so I'll be "right" by saying something mean about this guy -- but not directly to him like a real human being would, but only at the guy who is actually being NICE to him, like somebody who is only out to cause trouble for others would, and needs external validation by some random internet stranger" -- I guess I'll say my part anyway:

    To start with -- While none of my posts were ever meant to be condescending, you are probably mistaking "directness" and "confidence" in my "statements-as-fact" as me "being right and wrong at the same time". However, if you were to argue any one of my points directly, you would see that the "confidence" in my tone is justified.
    Besides -- while you're entitled to your opinion of me, if you've ever actually _read_ any of my posts, you'd see that the ones that do tend to come off as "condescending" actually arise from my frustration with the corporate entity (i.e. Unity themselves -- and their technology) -- not from or about other (actual) users on this forum -- And that even includes users like you.

    Besides -- I'm also pretty sure you've never written a single condescending thing in your life, right?


    Your post in NO WAY implies that your mannerisms and/or demeanor is "better than mine" -- does it? -- I mean, if I think that about your above passive-aggressive behavior, I must be totally wrong, mustn't I?


    Or maybe I'm just "right and wrong at the same time" -- like you said?



    The rest of your post isn't garbage though -- and I am glad you shared at least something constructive here.


    I think these are great ideas. This kind of discussion was essentially what I was going for early on with my suggestion -- so thanks for furthering it. It seemed like a bit less like an "aimless" random spawning mechanic, and more like a player-invoked "experience" system, sort of like when finding heart pieces inside secret caves in the NES Legend of Zelda.
     
  10. Zold2012

    Zold2012

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    The idea that you could anger NPCs by attacking them is a good idea that makes narritive sense. Previously we were just going to have NPCs ignore being attacked or have them tell you to stop roughhousing.
    We'd probably simplify the gameplay to "that NPC will remain angry with you (and not interact with you) until you make them a meal they like" as most of NPC interaction is going to entail them "ordering" different meals already, would mean not creating any new systems and the resulting gameplay would be in line with the rest of the game.
    Your tone matters just as much as your content, we're all on the same team. I agree its been a bit frustrating with Unity. I believe there are only 3 main people at Unity managing this project, and they have to go over every new system and every new idea, so while the community will be able to make quite a bit of the content, its still going to be limited by what those 3 people are able to analyze.

    The cooking thread has compiled a google document of the current ideas for the cooking system, its a good place to start to get an idea of the gameplay already being considered.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kGQXAkZul-dptwB6cXT71QrpBMDb8iQW3sdVfDaQ26g/edit
    I'm going to see about trying to get a more cohesive design document laid out within the next week or so that the majorty of people are on board with, hopefully it will help guide design ideas and make it easier on unity team/people that are trying to jump in.
     
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  11. awesomedata

    awesomedata

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    I actually like this a bit better than my suggestion to be honest. If you are rewarded with "secret" ingredients (on rare occasions) for offering up a special meal to make amends, this could be a pretty fun idea.
    The only downside I see to it is that this directly discourages players to rough-house the NPCs -- but, for example, if you make them drop a dish or some ingredients by rough-housing them and grab even better ingredients and/or make them an even better dish to cheer them up in return, some nice hidden mechanics could come about that would be satisfying for more "trickster" like personalities.


    That's true -- and up until this point, I thought my tone (and content) were both quite acceptable. I only posted here to have fun -- not to make enemies. Clearly that's not true for everyone here though. However, tone on the internet is a hard thing to read, and mine clearly offended someone at some point. So I guess that's how it goes.

    That being said -- I don't beat-up on anyone just to beat up on someone. I believe strongly in constructive criticism, and in that case, some people don't like my criticism. However, I've criticized nobody in this project, and I actually think that all three @Unity peeps running this project are actually pretty great people. I only joined this project because I thought it (and everyone here) seemed like fun.



    Thanks for the heads-up. This is good stuff. :)
    A design document would be pretty useful at this point for sure -- I think there should be a little room for brainstorming too though. I was scared I almost missed that part. D:
     
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  12. cirocontinisio

    cirocontinisio

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    Hey everyone, keep the tones on an acceptable level, please.

    Regarding scope, as I said elsewhere, we are keeping it small on purpose because working with such a big and scattered virtual team requires more work than what it would need on a normal project. And complexity doesn't go up in a linear way, so if we were double the people it doesn't mean we would make a vertical slice double as big.

    This is not just a project for the entertainment of experienced programmers, it also want to be educational. Making a much bigger project would just make it much harder to understand, something which we always keep in mind.

    I think here you're mixing the concepts of vertical slice and prototype, which for me are perpendicular.

    If we were making a prototype, then yes, we'd accept all the wildest gameplay ideas and open a PR for each, and prototype with mostly code and programmer art, and test them out. This is not the case for this project.
    Since we're making a vertical slice though, we are basically assuming that we have set in stone all gameplay, and that we are going to build an example of that with the maximum quality we can, within reasonable limits.

    That's why we went with a consolidated genre and we're not trying to innovate much in terms of gameplay. Still open to small modifications in terms of story and mechanics, but entire new dynamics and systems... maybe it could be a mod once we finish the project?
     
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  13. awesomedata

    awesomedata

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    Thanks, but I agree (and have said as much) that these two approaches are as different as night and day.
    Like you said, they are perpendicular -- as I've also alluded to above (i.e. with the bit on graphics/etc.)


    However, if there was any confusion on my part -- this would be it...
    ...because, as far as I can tell -- this isn't entirely the case. Some parts of the prototype phase (i.e. design-interaction stuff) are still necessary for attaining a proper design, despite our aiming for a vertical slice.



    Thanks for clarifying. This approach (and the reasoning for it) is easy to understand, so I get that. No worries. :)


    As for "small modifications" -- I think this bit wouldn't involve any "new" systems or whatnot, and would add a lot of interest to existing systems/gameplay (which was what I was originally going for, but I wasn't aware this aspect of interaction with NPC's was ever being considered):

    So even if the "secret" ingredients and/or meals you earned from NPC's were non-functional, they could still be fun to have as a joking "nod" to the player that says "yes, we think this is fun/funny too".

    Many times, if you've ever played a game with lots of items/descriptions, and came across some fun quip that makes you think "haha, that's true -- I would have never thought about it that way" -- You tend to get a rewarding feeling that the people who made the game have a good sense of humor, which makes the game appear to have more character than it already does -- and also makes it instantly more likeable.
    For example, AC Odyssey had an unexpected quip for Achilles' Bracers (arm gauntlets) that went something along the lines of -- "If only Achilles would have went against conventions and worn these on his calves instead..." -- which, if you know your history/legends, you would understand why this was quite funny and ironic when you happened to be the new owner of a piece of this guy's armor.

    I think a similar "toungue in cheek" approach would be great with this game when getting/designing meals for the game. Calling a dish you made out of a monster that required you to hop out of a bush to attack it while it was unaware of your presence a "Pork-Chop Surprise!" would add a lot of value to the "feel" and "character" of the game -- which is kind of what a vertical slice is all about. And I feel like this is doubly true for a game that is meant to "learned" from.
    After all -- not everything about game making can be learned from simple tools/resources. There are some "soft" skills that should be present too.
    Being able to add a little extra "dimension" to the game's character at no cost to the game outside of a little text and/or item-based or scenario-based "nods" to ridiculous things (like a pig cooking and/or hunting down monsters or simply mistaking a fellow citizen as "food" on this far-away island of really exotic ingredients) is worthy of consideration in the final vertical slice. There are so many ways to add "character" to this game -- and to not consider stuff like this in the final look/feel of the overall vertical slice is so terrible it should be considered a crime. ;P
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020