Author Topic: Some thoughts on the strategic game  (Read 2327 times)

Offline x4000

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Re: Some thoughts on the strategic game
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2013, 10:53:08 AM »
It's truly our pleasure.
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Offline Nanashi

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Re: Some thoughts on the strategic game
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2013, 03:18:44 PM »
At this point, my only major complaints are

1) That Valley 2 is essentially too much Actraiser. Actraiser's problem was that it was essentially two entirely different games in genres that shared little in common and the two game modes didn't really feel connected nor complementary - they're more of a checklist of requirements. If I stretched things a little, I could say that the strategic game buffs the platforming aspect (by covering level up windmills), but the platforming  aspect is completely isolated from the strategic aspect.

2) There's little to no exploration/adventure since levels are essentially linear with a halfhearted pretense of trying to seem nonlinear (the only function buildings serve is to add a change of scenery). It's not so much Metroid as Super Mario Brothers with randomly generated levels, and although random generation can add content when the game is complex, random generation in a simple game adds no depth, eventually it just feels like going through the motions with filler content.

3) Strategic games need to reward people for  making clever decisions. Valley 2 feels more like making the best of a bad situation and doing damage control. Your reward for work should not be "more work". Related:

4) One of the necessities of a good skinner box is a nicely spread out rewards system. There's not much of that here. Rewards in Valley 2 do not excite me, nor stimulate me to play more of the game. I don't feel the want to go "just one more turn", more "ugh, yet another annoying platform segment" to the point where I start questioning whether the goal is actually worth the journey. My feelings in X-COM after it threw crap at me were "Hahaha, I thwarted the computer and now I'm stronger, bring it on!". My feelings in Valley 2 after an annoying platform segment are "God, that was tedious, I hope I don't have to do that again and the game doesn't give me MORE of this".
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 03:20:58 PM by Nanashi »

Offline x4000

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Re: Some thoughts on the strategic game
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2013, 03:47:19 PM »
Oh, is that all? ;)

Regarding #1 and #2 off your list above, those are basically exactly the goals we had.  Minus the complaining embedded in there, heh.  YES there's no feedback from the adventure side into the strategic side, because you can't make a strategy game that works that way (I've written on that at length elsewhere).  Regarding the linear levels, it's more Castlevania I or Tyrian or Zelda II than Metroid or Castlevania II.  This isn't an accident.

Regarding #3, I think that's a fairly limited view of strategy games.  Your goal in a strategy game is always to take a certain situation, whatever it is, and use your brain to win.  Rebuild II has just as much of a "bad situation doing damage control" sort of scenario as this, I'd argue.  You could actually say that Chess does as well, really -- you don't get your pieces back when they are lost, and you are constantly sacrificing either position or pieces to achieve longer-term goals.

Regarding #4 I'm sorry to hear that, but to some extent this isn't meant to be a skinner box.  Any more than Castlevania I, Mario games, or something along those lines are.  The rewards in those games tend to be finding and seeing new stuff, which happens quite a bit here.  However if you've been playing it for a couple of months since the start of the beta, then you might be pretty far "over" that side of things.  In that case it all comes down to mechanical fun and wanting to go back through those sorts of things again -- the same reason one might play Age of Empires III again against the computer, or replay Mario 3 even after you've already won it.  That's not going to be for everyone, but it's more intrinsically motivated rather than something that is relying on the influx of new shinies in order to string people along.  In other words, not farmville.

Granted, there are great games with that one-more-turn mentality -- I think AI War is one, personally, and Civilization is widely regarded as one.  XCOM definitely sounds like one.  Rebuild II is one, for me, actually.  But I don't think that's the only way to design games, and it's something that either develops as a game is designed or doesn't.  It's also something that varies by person and their specific tastes, too.  I find that 10000000 gives me that one-more-turn vibe, as do many others, but then there's this whole other camp that "doesn't get it."  I think that's ok.

In short, it sounds like in terms of the major complaints you listed, most of those are working as designed but simply not to your particular tastes as much as you might want. :/
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Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: Some thoughts on the strategic game
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2013, 04:08:22 PM »
At this point, my only major complaints are ...

1) That Valley 2 is essentially too much Actraiser.

2) There's little to no exploration/adventure since levels are essentially linear with a halfhearted pretense of trying to seem nonlinear (the only function buildings serve is to add a change of scenery).

3) Strategic games need to reward people for  making clever decisions.

4) One of the necessities of a good skinner box is a nicely spread out rewards system.

re: 1.  Actraiser in my opinion, was an interesting play to two styles that up until that point had always been separate. Not that there are some people that don't like it, but on the whole, very innovative and had an interesting mix of playstyles to it. It could be argued in the same way, that Empire Earth, or other types of mixed games that these games opened up games that could be approached in several ways, not just a single way.

re: 2.  Right now, any of the levels, for any of the tile types are interesting in a visual art way, each area looks so different from the others, the mix of enemies is there to slow me, or stop me, as the real battle is less about me and the monsters, or me and the lieutenants, as it is about a contest that is getting inexorably closer and closer and I have to find a way to fend off until i am ready, and then once i am ready to face. If there are other games that have more in the way of interaction, or meaning or time involved with the monsters in the levels, and the lieutenants, then that is fine, but there are games out there that have this single laser focus on the final battle, just as V2 does. Your complaint doesn't show a flaw in V2 as much as it show your player preferences, which is fine, but don't tell us its the games fault you like things a certain way.

re: 3.  Strategic games rewarding players for clever decisions... given the context of what the rng gives me, which is the same as sitting down and playing a card game, then my approach to what is thrown at me, in what order and how i build up to facing Demonica are all fluid and rewarding decisions. Do i spend time building when i can, as much as i can? Or make a run as far as i can from Demonica while leveling up to face him? Do i concentrate on building a large collection of survivors for a protracted battle? Or have a few that support me when i go in for the final battle?
It seems to me, that what is rewarding for one player is different for another? Some want non-stop action all the time, others prefer a thoughtful approach that is more like a puzzle or a game of chess in the strategies, rather than the quick and dirty tactics. Saying there is no reward here, is saying that what is there is not to your liking, which is fine, but again, don't confuse your preferences for everyone elses.

re: 4.  Spreading out the reward system... They are spread out here, in my opinion, i am presented with easier tiles and tasks at first, with a clock ticking in the background that i either get ready for and have a chance at winning, or don't pay much attention to and have the game overwhelm me and i lose. In dwarf fortress, losing isn't the end of the game, it IS the game.  :)  So here with V2, i have randomly generated maps that present me with a path, some easier that others, some more difficult, some impossible to get through. But that is the point and that is the fun, maybe i never get so good that i can always beat the game.  :)  Maybe it is never the same enough that it becomes boring for me. Even if i have faced the same enemies and the same levels 50 times, the map will be different and my chances and what i do with them is what will be different as I come on the final battle. And either find out that i had almost everything perfect this time, or i didn't.
You may be mistaking spreading out rewards for 'loot' that is dropped through out a game in different levels for the strategic difficulty of taking out a knight that was backed up by a bishop when i thought i was had to begin with. :)
That is definitely a reward, and seriously gratifying as well, and has nothing to do with my picking up points or berries or gold or any other 'game' item. With some of the lieutenants and levels, that reward of walking out the other door, is very satisfying.

This of course is all my opinion, just as much as you expressed yours. I'm not flaming or ridiculing you for your views and preferences, but i think you should remember that all kinds of people with all sorts of styles and approaches play this game and we all have just as strong opinions about what we get out of it, and what we like as much as you. 

Thanks for listening,

-Teal




Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Some thoughts on the strategic game
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2013, 04:11:10 PM »
If a person actively disliked Actraiser, I don't think Valley2 has much chance with them :)  We recognize some flaws in Actraiser and tried to act accordingly with this project, but it remains a substantial portion of the inspiration.
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Offline Nanashi

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Re: Some thoughts on the strategic game
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2013, 04:17:08 PM »
@Chris: You do get your pieces back in Shogi! ( :P Sorry, I get your point. ) Chess is a wonderful game because as long as you have the pieces, you can make up your own rules. Suicide Chess, for example, or capture chess (that uses shogi rules and two boards so you can drop captured queens in front of people) or even make chess puzzles. It's really the pieces that are important to me, not the actual game.

Anywise, don't take that too seriously - it's just personal taste and I can appreciate that Valley 2 is definitely a better game than Valley 1 in many ways.  It's just that talking about what I do like about Valley 2 would be a bit out of place, but randomly:

1) I like the enemy art and Pablo did a good job with the music. Visually, Valley 2 is a lot more cohesive.
2) I think the bullet patterns or attack spells in general are a massive improvement over #1.
3) I think it's good design that Valley 2 has clearer goals.
4) For all its alleged faults, the strategic overview game is a lot more involving than Valley 1's too.
5) I like the effort you've put into rebalancing monsters. It creates for the dodging experience I kind of wanted in Valley 1.

I'm just the kind of "hacker" type personality in games which derives maximum enjoyment from finding out ways of breaking a game and exploiting them to the fullest. I guess in M:TG terms, I'd be a sort of Johnny/Spike thing. Streamlined games can be interesting, but since they give me less wiggle room, they clash with my personality. :P

P.S.: I didn't hate Actraiser, I just liked the strategy segments more than the action ones and found the action ones annoying obstacles in the way of getting to the next strategy segment. Actraiser 2 was punishingly difficult and had no strategy segments whatsoever (probably a bit of a loss), but I actually enjoyed that in its own way. Good design is when both segments are complementary and literally complete each other. Random design (not necessarily bad) would be combining two completely unrelated genres for no good reason - like forcing FPS players to play chess inbetween rounds.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 04:24:17 PM by Nanashi »

Offline x4000

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Re: Some thoughts on the strategic game
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2013, 07:16:01 PM »
Cheers, it's not a worry, and thanks for the kind words also. :)
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Offline LaughingThesaurus

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Re: Some thoughts on the strategic game
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2013, 07:31:41 PM »
I actually remember thinking you were going the metroidvania way with this game, but making the actraiser fit in more prominently. That actually sounded really amazing to me, but the castlevania 1 way of doing things is actually so punishingly hard that it's downright inaccessible to me. I mean, thankfully you've got a different sort of combat and air control and stuff so the difficulty doesn't come from stupid, and it comes from more focused and more modern places. I was just hoping for more exploration. I always was. So, that's why I end up sort of going back to wanting to play Valley 1. It has the exploration, it's just completely pointless to do... so then I don't play it.
At the moment for that fix I'm waiting for Starbound, but that game won't have the strategy to it, so... I guess you just can't have it all unless you're a talented indie game development studio.
I need to convince my friend to think that we all should make my dream games. XD

But yeah this is pretty much why I went from extremely excited before beta to totally silent or serious mode after beta. Figured this would be a good place for that.

Offline Gallant Dragon

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Re: Some thoughts on the strategic game
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2013, 12:27:10 PM »
Well, the only gripe I have so far is that most regions are basically a corridor with cheese at the end and a pile of mousetraps to be disabled or avoided, but I understand the reasoning behind the design choices made.  Personally, I'm enjoying the variety of enemy types and attacks, as well as the clearer focus and tighter gameplay in general.
It's just carriers all the way down!

Offline zespri

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Re: Some thoughts on the strategic game
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2013, 02:36:27 PM »
@Chris: You do get your pieces back in Shogi! ( :P Sorry, I get your point. ) Chess is a wonderful game because as long as you have the pieces, you can make up your own rules. Suicide Chess, for example, or capture chess (that uses shogi rules and two boards so you can drop captured queens in front of people) or even make chess puzzles. It's really the pieces that are important to me, not the actual game.
Terrible offtopic, but I'll hope that I don't get axed. One of the interesting chess variants that I came across lately was this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arimaa