Arcen Games

Games => A Valley Without Wind 1 & 2 => Topic started by: Professor Paul1290 on January 28, 2013, 04:43:58 PM

Title: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Professor Paul1290 on January 28, 2013, 04:43:58 PM
Something I've noticed is that the platforming and combat sort side of the game is pretty ordinary.
This isn't really a bad thing, but a lot of other platformers these days have some sort of odd mechanic to spice up the moment-to-moment gameplay a bit and it makes AVWW 2 feel a bit too "platformer/shooter played straight" by comparison. I feel like there could be room for such a thing in AVWW 2 that doesn't interfere with everything else too much.

More specifically I thought it would be nice if there was some mechanic that gave the player room to refine and gain an advantage by becoming better at using it, but at the same time wouldn't stop them from proceeding if they didn't pay too much attention to it.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 28, 2013, 04:50:55 PM
You do realize the 1.0 of the game is coming out in about three weeks, right?  We're not really looking to overhaul massive parts of the game right before going to release. ;)
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Professor Paul1290 on January 28, 2013, 04:53:47 PM
You do realize the 1.0 of the game is coming out in about three weeks, right?  We're not really looking to overhaul massive parts of the game right before going to release. ;)

It's pretty close to release yea, but I wasn't thinking of a massive overhaul or anything like that.

More something rather minor which would have only a tiny impact on gameplay would be rather small, but would scratch the "I must do 100% well" OCD itch.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 28, 2013, 04:55:07 PM
Okay, just checking.  Something along those lines I'm certainly open to, but I don't have any idea what that would be.  For me what makes the combat/platforming of this game is the fact that it's difficult and tense and varied.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Professor Paul1290 on January 28, 2013, 05:06:10 PM
I guess to use a "large" example (anything else would likely be smaller than this):

One thing I can sort of see working could be having a number that would affect a penalty to your spell damage (I guess we could call it "composure" for now). It could be justified in the game as the idea that spells need concentration to cast well. Normally you'd have composure at 100% and you'd do your normal spell damage. However, if you take damage in any way then you'll take a hit to composure as well as your health, and having composure at less than 100% would temporarily reduce spell damage (maybe 0% would mean you do 75% of your normal damage). If you kill enemies you recover composure.
Perhaps if you used an ammo spell, it would automatically max composure, which could get more use out of the ammo spell and fit with the idea of it as a "bomb" or "panic button".

I guess that would be at the bigger side of things, it probably wouldn't need to be as involved to accomplish the same thing.

Basically it would be something that wouldn't really kill you for ignoring it, but at the same time plays off the idea that gamers tend to like the idea of refining their play in little ways, especially if there's a small benefit to it.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: madcow on January 28, 2013, 05:50:43 PM
Eh, I'm not sure I really like the idea of losing damage as you take health. If anything like this were to be done, I would rather it be the other way around - a bonus of extra damage if you pick up health drops while already at full health. Rather than losing power when you take damage.

This wouldn't really impact balance, because you would need to be -very- skilled to manage not taking damage long enough to build up a decent combo meter. On the flip side, it would be hard enough to build up a combo meter that it might not be worth implementing, heh.


What would be interesting is optional difficulty settings. Though again, now that we've more enemies, the game is hard enough that I'm not sure how much use they would get. Just imagine a hardcore mode where enemies don't drop any health/ammo. I was going to say one-shot one-kill mode where everything (including you!) die in one hit, but that would be both horribly masochistic and game-breaking.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Pepisolo on January 28, 2013, 06:29:59 PM
Quote
More specifically I thought it would be nice if there was some mechanic that gave the player room to refine and gain an advantage by becoming better at using it, but at the same time wouldn't stop them from proceeding if they didn't pay too much attention to it.

Actually, I think that something like this is already in place -- the caliber system. You can try to get used to the various spell calibers and become more adept at countering projectiles, or you can just run around spamming bullets oblivious, it's up to you. For example, I've only recently started learning to time using Explosive Crescent defensively; it feels nice to ninja incoming projectiles out of the air like this, and does give you some sense that you are mastering the game. The other spells have different things to master, ultra-defensive spells like Entropic Touch or the recently improved mine attacks for example.

Having said that, I do actually agree with you that the platforming does to some extent seem "ordinary", especially when you just dive in. Maybe the player is not being tempted to experiment with these spell/caliber mechanics enough. Or maybe the caliber system is not as integral to the combat as it should be. I think improvements to the caliber system and how the enemies are balanced around it would be a good thing to work on in the 3 weeks remaining or so. I really need to think more intensely on what exactly is not quite right with the system at the moment, though. 
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Teal_Blue on January 28, 2013, 06:35:04 PM
for me, right now the mechanics seem to be just about where they should be. I am a casual player though, so maybe my 'optimal' space is different from other players, notably the hard core gamers that are really, really good at things, anyway, with that being said, i still think that the tweaks needed at this point are minimal. I would say just mostly polish and adding in the last of the art and running through each of the systems and double checking them.  :)

-T

Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: doctorfrog on January 28, 2013, 06:46:15 PM
I haven't played more than thirty minutes of V2, so feel free to ignore this, but one issue I've always had with platformers (and roguelikes) is the lack of a sense of habitat and world. It's like all these baddies are just waiting around for me to show up, and if I didn't, they'd go on their patrol routes, never eating, never sleeping, mating, creating homes, never dying on their own, never fighting each other, etc.

I'm not suggesting that V2 simulate an entire ecosystem, but maybe there are ways to fake it some. Like have a mama enemy spring out of a filthy habitat, apparently protecting kidlings inside. You crack it open and see a usual arrangement of scattered bones and fur (belonging to other creatures that you meet and kill off), and a bunch of scampering ferocious things nipping at your boots.

Examining the habitat, you see some telltale signs of black muck on the walls, and later on when you start seeing this black muck, you know there must be a similar habit nearby. Oh, this one is empty. You exit it and see the same creature, but now it is eating something it has caught. It doesn't see you yet, and you have a chance to attack.

Or maybe you stumble upon a gang rumble between two larger groups of baddies, some infighting between the main lieutenants of the game.

The original Knytt did this in a subtle way, and it was part of the game to just view little mini-stories of scattered life in its world, almost like reading a child's picture book. Here's a place where a group of little pixel creatures are sitting near a bridge. One of them is running back and forth, apparently playing. In this other area, there is some lava on the screen, so it must be hot, and here are some different creatures you don't see anywhere else, so they must like the heat. And so on.

It's one thing to have a cool looking enemy floating around and shooting at you when you get near. It's another thing entirely to see it 'living' in its world.

Again, feel free to ignore me because I really don't have a leg to stand on as I haven't played the game very much yet. This sort of thing might even be unreasonable to demand from V2. But it seems to me to suffer from the same sort of lifelessness as your average platformer or dungeon crawler: the baddies are just waiting around for you and their entire life purpose is to shoot at you and be shot at. It just produces an empty feeling.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: madcow on January 28, 2013, 07:35:22 PM
While that's a cool idea doctorfrog. I don't think it would really work in randomly generated levels. Would need to be handcrafted ones.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Misery on January 28, 2013, 07:44:57 PM
To be honest, I dont think you really need to add any more mechanics to the platforming sections.    You've got the different spellsets for the player, complete with powerful ammo spells, you've got the super-varied selection of enemies, and you've got the caliber system and the randomly-generated areas..... all of these things together already produce some really amazing stuff.  Adding more in there just because seems kinda silly to me.

Like the older Mario games on the NES;  those are pretty simple about platforming, and they dont try to do too much that's "new and interesting".... they're just good, solid platformers, and that's one of the things that makes them as darned good as they are.   Too many developers these days try way too hard to stick gimmicks into places that never needed them to begin with, which can actually lower the quality of the finished game.  Happens OFTEN these days.


The careful, tactical combat, high difficulty, and lots and lots of enemies that all present individual threats will already produce a very different feel from many other platformers, which these days tend to be either run and gun like Gunstar Heroes, or attempts at copying Super Meat Boy with the "die 2405824398534 times per level" style, or weird gimmicky ones. 


Definitely already got a good thing going here, I think.   It's certainly possible to add more to it later on, but.... maybe best done with an expansion or something later?
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: tigersfan on January 28, 2013, 07:46:31 PM
While that's a cool idea doctorfrog. I don't think it would really work in randomly generated levels. Would need to be handcrafted ones.

Even if we could do it with procedurally generated levels, we couldn't do it in the three weeks that we have to finish the game.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Panopticon on January 28, 2013, 07:52:02 PM
Aside from some enemies that can take an awful lot of damage and fine tuning how they work together in a chunk I think there is plenty of good stuff going on in the action side of the game.

It's starting to feel like it is polish time and not really a time to focus on adding new mechanics.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: tigersfan on January 28, 2013, 08:05:00 PM
Aside from some enemies that can take an awful lot of damage and fine tuning how they work together in a chunk I think there is plenty of good stuff going on in the action side of the game.

It's starting to feel like it is polish time and not really a time to focus on adding new mechanics.

Aside from new monsters and some art (which is really just polish anyway), I don't think we have a lot more to add. We really are doing a lot of focus on the polish part of the game.

I can't speak for Chris and the rest of the staff, but personally, I'm really excited about where the game is right now. No, we aren't done, but, it's becoming easier to see the end every day. :)
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 28, 2013, 08:08:12 PM
Ditto Josh. :)
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: LaughingThesaurus on January 28, 2013, 09:04:29 PM
While that's a cool idea doctorfrog. I don't think it would really work in randomly generated levels. Would need to be handcrafted ones.
Gonna throw this out there real quick: Torchlight 2 actually does do this. All of the enemies have a purpose in the randomly generated and strung together chunks, and they're generally all in different places. It's procedurally generated, but you'll find hunters hunting, people sitting around a camp fire, or some warriors of other races exit their huts to spawn into the world. The problem with this, is the fact that Torchlight 2 probably had waaaaaay more of a team and budget and stuff to put in that insane level of polish. I can't imagine that kind of polish here, with how much time it would take. They'd probably be better off throwing another AI War expansion in that same time frame.
Also, the enemies don't really spawn in so there's that.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 09:39:01 AM
I guess to use a "large" example (anything else would likely be smaller than this):

One thing I can sort of see working could be having a number that would affect a penalty to your spell damage (I guess we could call it "composure" for now). It could be justified in the game as the idea that spells need concentration to cast well. Normally you'd have composure at 100% and you'd do your normal spell damage. However, if you take damage in any way then you'll take a hit to composure as well as your health, and having composure at less than 100% would temporarily reduce spell damage (maybe 0% would mean you do 75% of your normal damage). If you kill enemies you recover composure.
Perhaps if you used an ammo spell, it would automatically max composure, which could get more use out of the ammo spell and fit with the idea of it as a "bomb" or "panic button".

I guess that would be at the bigger side of things, it probably wouldn't need to be as involved to accomplish the same thing.

Basically it would be something that wouldn't really kill you for ignoring it, but at the same time plays off the idea that gamers tend to like the idea of refining their play in little ways, especially if there's a small benefit to it.

Eh, I'm not sure I really like the idea of losing damage as you take health. If anything like this were to be done, I would rather it be the other way around - a bonus of extra damage if you pick up health drops while already at full health. Rather than losing power when you take damage.

This wouldn't really impact balance, because you would need to be -very- skilled to manage not taking damage long enough to build up a decent combo meter. On the flip side, it would be hard enough to build up a combo meter that it might not be worth implementing, heh.

Thinking about this thread some more, I am inclined toward the concentration model as suggested by Professor Paul1290 and efined by madcow as being an interesting sort of mechanic.

I agree with everything that Misery has said, but there is also one mechanic that is currently in the game which bugs me: and that is the combo system that is currently there.  Right now the combo system really punishes things like charge shots, and the combo system is so opaque that probably many of you don't even know it exists.  In short, every shot that hits an enemy gets remembered, and then any further shots of that same type do half damage to the enemy.  There are some perks that let you reduce this penalty.

It's not a horrible system, but it does set my teeth on edge a little bit (mainly because I'm the one who came up with it and I'm less than thrilled with it).  If we did the following, I think it might be potentially better than it currently is:

- No more combo system, aka no more penalty to the current shot if it's the same type as the prior shot that just hit the enemy.
- All player spells drop to .75 of their current power to compensate (if you normally blast an enemy with two shots to kill it, you were doing 1.5 damage instead of 2 damage, for instance; any further shots of the same type, such as with a fusillade, would have been dropping down to approaching 50% effectiveness in the current system).
- Put a visible "Concentration" meter on the screen, down by the health meter.  It starts out at zero.
- Ammo drops would add to your concentration AND your ammo when you are already at full health.
- Anytime you take damage from any source, if your concentration > 0 it goes down by 1.  If you die, it goes all the way to 0.
- Max concentration would normally be something like 3, with the perks that currently are helping reduce the combo penalty adding concentration points (so I think that would max out at 5 or 6 if you took those perks, can't recall for sure).
- For each 1 concentration that you have, you do 25% extra damage on all your shots.


This trades out a mechanic that is opaque (the combo system) for one that is very visible (right there on the hud).  Supporting what Misery was saying in a lot of ways, this would actually help to encourage the players to be more careful and tactical, since there is an on-hud system right there that is rewarding them for doing that.  But like madcow says, this is a bonus and not a penalty -- you're getting rewarded for doing well, not punished for doing averagely.

These all strike me as good refinements on the system we already have, without trying to get gimmicky or majorly overhaul the entire game or something.  Which seems very much in line with the Professor's original intents in creating this thread.  Thoughts?
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Misery on January 29, 2013, 10:00:05 AM
I guess to use a "large" example (anything else would likely be smaller than this):

One thing I can sort of see working could be having a number that would affect a penalty to your spell damage (I guess we could call it "composure" for now). It could be justified in the game as the idea that spells need concentration to cast well. Normally you'd have composure at 100% and you'd do your normal spell damage. However, if you take damage in any way then you'll take a hit to composure as well as your health, and having composure at less than 100% would temporarily reduce spell damage (maybe 0% would mean you do 75% of your normal damage). If you kill enemies you recover composure.
Perhaps if you used an ammo spell, it would automatically max composure, which could get more use out of the ammo spell and fit with the idea of it as a "bomb" or "panic button".

I guess that would be at the bigger side of things, it probably wouldn't need to be as involved to accomplish the same thing.

Basically it would be something that wouldn't really kill you for ignoring it, but at the same time plays off the idea that gamers tend to like the idea of refining their play in little ways, especially if there's a small benefit to it.

Eh, I'm not sure I really like the idea of losing damage as you take health. If anything like this were to be done, I would rather it be the other way around - a bonus of extra damage if you pick up health drops while already at full health. Rather than losing power when you take damage.

This wouldn't really impact balance, because you would need to be -very- skilled to manage not taking damage long enough to build up a decent combo meter. On the flip side, it would be hard enough to build up a combo meter that it might not be worth implementing, heh.

Thinking about this thread some more, I am inclined toward the concentration model as suggested by Professor Paul1290 and efined by madcow as being an interesting sort of mechanic.

I agree with everything that Misery has said, but there is also one mechanic that is currently in the game which bugs me: and that is the combo system that is currently there.  Right now the combo system really punishes things like charge shots, and the combo system is so opaque that probably many of you don't even know it exists.  In short, every shot that hits an enemy gets remembered, and then any further shots of that same type do half damage to the enemy.  There are some perks that let you reduce this penalty.

It's not a horrible system, but it does set my teeth on edge a little bit (mainly because I'm the one who came up with it and I'm less than thrilled with it).  If we did the following, I think it might be potentially better than it currently is:

- No more combo system, aka no more penalty to the current shot if it's the same type as the prior shot that just hit the enemy.
- All player spells drop to .75 of their current power to compensate (if you normally blast an enemy with two shots to kill it, you were doing 1.5 damage instead of 2 damage, for instance; any further shots of the same type, such as with a fusillade, would have been dropping down to approaching 50% effectiveness in the current system).
- Put a visible "Concentration" meter on the screen, down by the health meter.  It starts out at zero.
- Ammo drops would add to your concentration AND your ammo when you are already at full health.
- Anytime you take damage from any source, if your concentration > 0 it goes down by 1.  If you die, it goes all the way to 0.
- Max concentration would normally be something like 3, with the perks that currently are helping reduce the combo penalty adding concentration points (so I think that would max out at 5 or 6 if you took those perks, can't recall for sure).
- For each 1 concentration that you have, you do 25% extra damage on all your shots.


This trades out a mechanic that is opaque (the combo system) for one that is very visible (right there on the hud).  Supporting what Misery was saying in a lot of ways, this would actually help to encourage the players to be more careful and tactical, since there is an on-hud system right there that is rewarding them for doing that.  But like madcow says, this is a bonus and not a penalty -- you're getting rewarded for doing well, not punished for doing averagely.

These all strike me as good refinements on the system we already have, without trying to get gimmicky or majorly overhaul the entire game or something.  Which seems very much in line with the Professor's original intents in creating this thread.  Thoughts?



.......agh!   I knew there was SOMETHING weird about the damage values!  I thought my spells were glitching out all over the place, with the second shot doing less than the first.   That explains that  :P  You were probably right, I'm thinking most players had no idea such a thing was there.   I know I sure didn't, but the effects of the thing were definitely bugging me a bit.

This new thing sounds like a good idea though.

Are you going to have it so that 1 ammo drop always equals one concentration point?   Or so that it takes a couple of them to get one?  I ask this just due to the rate at which those drop;  it doesnt fill ammo up super fast, since you need quite a bunch of those items to refill that, but it'd fill this concentration thing up super fast, when enemies are dropping alot of those.

EDIT:   And I'll add that I DONT think the actual rate of the drops themselves should be changed at all.  That part is balanced out pretty well.

Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Pepisolo on January 29, 2013, 10:24:28 AM
Quote
and the combo system is so opaque that probably many of you don't even know it exists.

You're right, actually. I'd completely forgotten the system existed. Trading out this for something else would surely be a good move.

Quote
For each 1 concentration that you have, you do 25% extra damage on all your shots.

How about a caliber boost, too?

Quote
Ammo drops would add to your concentration AND your ammo when you are already at full health.

Not sure about rolling these concentration boosts into ammo boxes.  How about your concentration increases from simply killing enemies, and reduces when you get hit? Edit: thinking about it a little more, I actually think I'd like something like this. It would be a kind of a system where chaining enemy kills untouched would result in you gaining greater power, kind of like a real combo system. Obviously,  you couldn't have 1 monster kill per concentration level, it'd need to be 3 or 5, something like that.




Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: MouldyK on January 29, 2013, 10:41:02 AM
I have two words for the concentration thing: "Me Gusta" :3

This would be a bonus for those who are careful, expecially when going into a Level-Up Tower zone and makign sure your conentration is good enough to be able to get in a few good first strikes.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 10:49:06 AM
Ooh, I really like the change to making the concentration just from killing enemies when your health is full.  I think that is a better system, yeah.

Okay, here we go!
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Pepisolo on January 29, 2013, 10:51:07 AM
Quote
Ooh, I really like the change to making the concentration just from killing enemies when your health is full.  I think that is a better system, yeah.

Okay, here we go!

This actually is a little exciting... looking forward to this. Thanks Prof, Madcow and others. Discussion is good.


Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 10:54:11 AM
Indeed!  Also, I forgot to mention it but I also like your caliber boost idea.  I'm planning on rolling that in as well.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Pepisolo on January 29, 2013, 11:03:11 AM
Indeed!  Also, I forgot to mention it but I also like your caliber boost idea.  I'm planning on rolling that in as well

Cool. Hopefully it will work fine, I can't see why not. Can't wait to test this new mechanic!
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: madcow on January 29, 2013, 11:38:34 AM
This sounds pretty awesome! Will need fine tuning but has potential to be great for sure.

Also!  Since caliber is getting rolled into the combo system, is there any chance of caliber perks? That would add a lot of tactical decisions on deciding between caliber, damage, or health perks. And it's bothered me as something ripe for a perk but lacking.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 11:41:40 AM
Welll... I don't really want to add any new perks in terms of number of perks -- that would start really changing the balance in terms of how long it takes to get through the game and how many perk tokens you get, etc.  So I'd only want to do this as a replacement for something else.  The perks for caliber could potentially replace the three featherweight perks, which definitely seem to be the least-interesting at the moment.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Oralordos on January 29, 2013, 11:43:21 AM
I agree that the featherweight perks are the least interesting at the moment. I don't think I've played enough recently to know if caliber perks would be something needed.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 11:46:59 AM
Well, so long as they are more interesting than featherweight we've improved things, right? :D
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Pepisolo on January 29, 2013, 11:52:20 AM
Quote
Also!  Since caliber is getting rolled into the combo system, is there any chance of caliber perks? That would add a lot of tactical decisions on deciding between caliber, damage, or health perks. And it's bothered me as something ripe for a perk but lacking.

Yeah, I like the idea of Caliber perks. Range perks would also be interesting, but these wouldn't work properly with certain types of attacks -- how do you boost the range of Entropic Touch for example. But yeah, Caliber perks I'm all for.  Not sure what it would replace, though, if replacing is absolutely necessary.

What does the featherweight perk do? Can't quite remember. Some slowfall thing?
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 12:03:59 PM
Featherweight is slowfall, yeah.

In terms of range perks, those would be incredibly overpowered, so those are specifically excluded for that reason.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: madcow on January 29, 2013, 12:12:16 PM
Feather fall could just die yeah.  Honestly I don't think it would be overpowered if the jump height and movement speed perks were combined, the movement perks are in general niche enough that I don't tend to take them.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Pepisolo on January 29, 2013, 12:15:24 PM
Quote
In terms of range perks, those would be incredibly overpowered, so those are specifically excluded for that reason.

Not sure about incredibly overpowered.  If I had a straight choice between a 50% damage boost or a 25% range boost for example, I'd probably still go for the damage I think.  Choosing power would mean a more offensively minded approach, range would be defensive.  I can see that you'd have to be careful with it, though. It would be hard to add extra range to stuff like Entropic Touch and a few of the other weirder spells, though, so caliber perks is the much safer option.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: madcow on January 29, 2013, 12:18:16 PM
The issue I can see with range is there could become a point where you can basically cheese snipe bosses or monsters. Snake, homing, or even reckless spells with range for instance.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 12:20:07 PM
The issue I can see with range is there could become a point where you can basically cheese snipe bosses or monsters. Snake, homing, or even reckless spells with range for instance.

Bingo.  Too many exploitable edge cases along those lines.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Billick on January 29, 2013, 12:20:48 PM
The one reservation I'd have about removing combos is that it promoted more diverse spell usage, although you could argue that it's kind of an artificial way to do that, and most players didn't even know about that mechanic to begin with. As far as perks go, I feel like damage and health are king currently.  Featherfall is almost worthless, or possibly less than worthless depending on the situation. 
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: madcow on January 29, 2013, 12:28:35 PM
The one reservation I'd have about removing combos is that it promoted more diverse spell usage, although you could argue that it's kind of an artificial way to do that, and most players didn't even know about that mechanic to begin with. As far as perks go, I feel like damage and health are king currently.  Featherfall is almost worthless, or possibly less than worthless depending on the situation.

I had the same thought about concentration (which honestly would make more sense called combo heh), but I think enemy diversity is enough that we have that effect without needing an artificial reason. If for some reason it's not enough concentration could be modified to require variety to build past a certain point.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Pepisolo on January 29, 2013, 12:28:47 PM
The issue I can see with range is there could become a point where you can basically cheese snipe bosses or monsters. Snake, homing, or even reckless spells with range for instance.

Bingo.  Too many exploitable edge cases along those lines.

Actually, you're right yeah. I forgot to take into account that perks are stackable, too. Which might allow you to shoot over a screen's distance etc.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: madcow on January 29, 2013, 12:54:30 PM
The more I think about it. The more I think some of the movement perks ought to be combined. Jump height/movement speed especially. Not sure if swimming ought to be merged there, but it could use some loving - maybe a universal damage increase (or a reistance from incoming damage) while in water.  Slow fall could just be removed, or -maybe- combined with swimming instead of the damage change I mentioned.  In general all the movement abilities are of niche/limited use.  I might take movement just because I hate walking slow but that's it.

Edit: and didn't mean to derail the combo thread quite so much into a perk thread. Oops!
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 01:03:24 PM
The movement perks are not really meant to be super useful, but they are useful.  I don't think that trying to combine them all together would really be a positive thing in the end, because frankly I would want jump height but not extra movement speed, etc.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Panopticon on January 29, 2013, 02:01:10 PM
This Concentration system sounds pretty sweet, and I love the idea of caliber perks, since I do try to make use of the caliber system.

And for the record, I was aware of the combo system and it wasn't the most terrible thing but it had some strange effects on choices I'd make concerning mage classes. Aquaurgist is one of my favorites in some ways. I love Sea Slider's versatility and Water Sine is a really fun spell to play with. However when you combine them with the combo system they suffer because without two direct shot spells to alternate between the combo system is very difficult to manage. So in a lot of cases where I wanted to game in the extra punch of the combo system (fighting inside mainly where mobility is reduced) I would end up going with something like Forgician or Draftlock where I could utilize the combo system more easily. So in other words this focus system will reward my style of play much more, and I suspect most players will appreciate it. The combo system has always kind of bugged me for these reasons but I liked the idea behind it enough to wrestle with the unwieldy parts and I didn't have any suggestions for anything better. So yeah, I like the sound of these ideas and I'm looking forward to testing them. This could go a long way to dealing with how spongy some of the monsters feel too.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: madcow on January 29, 2013, 02:07:50 PM
The removal of old combos might also make fusillade spells actually worthwhile, it's a nontrivial buff to them.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 02:13:29 PM
Oh yeah, that's a huge thing for them.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Penumbra on January 29, 2013, 02:37:14 PM
One thing that has been a minor annoyance to me is the display of current life. It just being a number at the bottom of the screen makes it harder to "get a feel for" it and requires me to read it. A bar that changes color and looks half full is easier to read out of the corner of my than a number.

This new display of concentration "overlife" might lead to a more user-friendly UI element. ;)

Next, hit points are currently "refunded" to the player on a random basis after an enemy is killed. There is a little strategy to hoarding a small number of unused health orbs, but other than that, random.

Also, it only occurs after an enemy is defeated, which means monsters with a larger health pool require the player to survive for a longer time without health pickups.  Some games put weak trash mobs around big monsters so the player has something to farm life from while dealing with the main threat.



If I understand the current suggestion correctly, any attacks done while at full health (i.e. hitting while not getting hit) charges the concentration bar, leading to bonus damage. If a hit is taken, the player's life goes down and concentration is lost. If you had a bar that was 125% as long as the player's current life total, it could over-fill while dealing damage at full life.



To hopefully bring this rambling and slightly incoherent post to some semblance of a conclusion, I will (finally) make my point ;D. The randomization of damage in AI War was detrimental to the strategic game because you couldn't plan as carefully. What if, instead of hoping for life drops from defeated enemies, you instead gained a form of "life drain" affect. When dealing damage to an enemy, your life bar would increase. This allows prolonged fights against large monsters without the need for the trash farming, and allows monsters to be individually balanced. Any life gained while at maximum continues to fill the bar, into the concentration range. This part will increase damage done, but will be lost over time, down to the current full life amount.

This would encourage the player in the following ways:


One huge bonus is that this will be a single, unified system. There is only one bar: health. It fills in one way: dealing damage.

With a noticeable demarcation where the full X bars end, and the over bar starts, the system will nearly explain itself to the user. Maybe the bar glows in the concentration area, indicating the bonus. Seeing it decrease back down to full will show that it is a timed bonus. This also shows that the concentration bonus can be only had when already at full life without having to put up a text box explaining it. Taking damage is detrimental to your concentration bonus, which is also evident by it being part of the health bar.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 02:43:41 PM
That's a fairly complicated redo, and to be honest the current system is very much like what is done in Metroid, Zelda, and a lot of other games.  Castlevania.  Etc.  You get a randomized reward, and it may or may not be what you want, for when you kill enemies.  The concentration here only fills when you kill enemies while also at full health, so it's an extra layer on top of that for rewarding extra careful play.

"Getting lucky" isn't really that big of a factor here, because all monsters drop either health or ammo -- never nothing, never anything else.  So the only way you didn't get health is if you just got ammo.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Penumbra on January 29, 2013, 02:52:56 PM
I was trying to go for simpler and unified, not more complicated. But, yes, from a development viewpoint, it is a more complicated change.

I really do dislike that health is just a number, but that's a visual nit. And the thought of just shoving another number down there for concentration level....  ::)

But, I see you are already implementing it, so, yay new things!  :D
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 03:01:31 PM
Well, we had the big health meter thing in Valley 1, and I didn't feel like that was particularly more visible.  Metroid and so forth make out really well with just a number system for health, so I figure that works here also.  Zelda has the hearts system, but is also slower-paced.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Penumbra on January 29, 2013, 03:03:17 PM
I would argue that Metroid had the little life blocks, which were effectively the hearts from Zelda. Before you got the first life tank, yes, you had only a number. It was just as annoying  :P
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 03:05:26 PM
Hahaha.  Fair enough.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Nanashi on January 29, 2013, 03:38:37 PM
I'd like to reiterate because I'm concerned: Being overpowered is not inherently a bad thing. Being overpowered is negative when it leads to uninteresting gameplay.

There's a difference between making a game and making an aptitude test. The purpose of a game is to be entertaining, not to act as a metric for personal worth. I dislike it when game designers go "You must play ze game ze vay ve tell you to and YOU VILL ENJOY IT." rather than when game designers go "Here's the keys to the car, have a good time".
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 03:49:51 PM
Yes, I'm well aware of that, though I'm not sure what you're bringing that up in response to.  I prefer to play on a comfortable difficulty myself, to be honest.  That's why we always have difficulty levels that range from "completely easy" to "almost impossibly hard."  That way people get an aptitude test if they want, or they get not only the keys but also unlimited get out of jail free cards. ;)
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: Nanashi on January 29, 2013, 03:57:35 PM
It wasn't in response to you, I'm just nitpicking on the "It would be overpowered" replies people use to shut down an avenue of consideration. That alone isn't a good argument - "It might lead to sniping" is more of a valid argument, but although that's definitely true in Valley 1, it doesn't necessarily hold up in Valley 2 due to the calibre system, for example.

That doesn't mean he's WRONG that it would be a bad idea, I think it just needs to be actually tried before being shot down. Empirically.
Title: Re: Does the platforming/combat side need something else?
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2013, 03:58:50 PM
Gotcha.