Arcen Games

Games => A Valley Without Wind 1 & 2 => AVWW Brainstorming => Topic started by: x4000 on November 28, 2011, 03:18:15 PM

Title: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: x4000 on November 28, 2011, 03:18:15 PM
Here's an interesting thing I've been thinking about, and I've not been coming up with huge numbers of ideas on this and so wanted to put this to the players.  In what ways could AVWW better allow players to be clever in the game?

Background

In AI War, I think that a lot of the lasting appeal of that game (for me anyhow) is that it offers a decision space that is really rich.  Unusually so, even for a strategy game.  There's lots of kinds of ships, and ridiculous numbers of ways that you can combine them.  Some players use ships to great effect that others detest, and every so often a player will come up with a really unique and clever strategy (exploit or otherwise) that nobody else has ever thought of.

I think that this is part of the enduring appeal of AI War: whether or not you personally ever do, there's always the feeling that you can come up with some cool strategy that nobody else has ever thought of.  And even when you come up with something that others have already thought up, it's not necessarily something that was obvious to everyone.  There is an element of strategic creativity there, that really lets people of all skill levels feel clever as they come up with a plan and then execute on that plan.

Other Games And Cleverness
I think that, to some extent, Tidalis also rewards cleverness.  However, it's much more traditional in how it does so: all of the puzzles have a solution that we (mainly meaning Lars) thought of, and your task is figuring out the how to solve that puzzle.  Sometimes there are extra solutions that he didn't think of in advance, which is also part of the fun with Tidalis (as with AI War), but in general it's a much more curated experience -- until you get into custom games, which can involve all sorts of odd challenges that other people have never or only infrequently encountered.

When it comes to games like platformers, FPS, schmups, and other action games, however, these are not exactly known for the same phenomenon.  Games like Zelda and its many derivatives do in fact have puzzles, and many of them require the player to be quite clever.  But these are all about as curated as they come, each having a single very specific solution.  It's a different kind of game, and a different kind of cleverness, than I really mean.

Thinking About Player Cleverness In AVWW
Right now, AVWW doesn't have Zelda-style puzzles -- and whether or not it does in the future is irrelevant to what I'm really talking about with this thread.  That's a way to provide players with an interesting challenge, but it's inherently finite and something that has a 1:1 puzzle design-to-solutions ratio.  In other words, we design one puzzle, and you solve one puzzle. 

The sort of player cleverness I'm talking about is the more freeform kind that you see in AI War, or Magicka, or Minecraft.  In AI War you've got this strategic cleverness where you can combine all the myriad of ships in different ways to overcome challenges that would otherwise be insurmountable.  In Magicka you've got that spell combo system that lets you create custom spell combos that lead to effects others might not have thought of.  In Minecraft, obviously the fairly small number of blocks (under 30 I think) are able to be recombined in Lego-style fashion to make this ridiculous number of possible creations.

I'm open to any suggestions, this is a brainstorming thread after all, but what I'm most interested in developing is opportunities for player cleverness in AVWW along the lines of what you can do with AI War or Magicka, not in the creative building-block-style that you see in Minecraft.  After all, you've already got Minecraft and Terraria for that sort of thing, and frankly they do it better than we could.  Aside from things like the room templates that players are already creating for AVWW, as that's obviously really creative and bears really cool results (although the actual creation process takes place outside the game!).

Extra points the closer the proposed ideas tie into the existing mechanics we already have for the game; I'm not saying I will only implement one idea for player cleverness or something, but I am saying that the ones that are quicker for us to integrate are likely to show up faster. :)

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Martyn van Buren on November 28, 2011, 03:45:37 PM
Well, first thoughts --- the first things that come to mind are things like status effects, but I'm sure those are already planned.  One thing that occurs to me is that in AVWW you never get to scout Mk IV world with a raid engine next to your home, as it were, and then go "Holy sh**!" and go back to think about what to do with your Mk I triangle ships and 10,000 starting k --- combat tends to be surmountable with enough jumping and reflexes, and you never really do get a clear view of something totally overwhelming.  That's a feeling I miss a lot, tho I don't really know how to recreate it. 

So I think one thing might be trying to create situations that pose much more intense challenges, with crazy numbers of spawners or multiple bosses or something, but then give you a lot more information about the playing field before you start and potentially some way of adjusting it a little --- maybe laying a few traps and crates while hidden --- to give yourself a (hopefully painfully inadequate) edge.  I think having situations where you get forced into combat without being able to go get the loadout you really want would contribute to that too --- I feel like I only come up with clever things after I experiment and try a few massively dumb things, and I don't tend to take that risk unless I'm forced to.  Perhaps larger no-warp areas --- or whole dungeons you have to restart if you warp in and out --- would help with that?
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: x4000 on November 28, 2011, 03:50:19 PM
It's true, one of the things we had thought of a long while back were Boss Buff rooms where you could go to them to destroy them to weaken the boss in some fashion, but otherwise the boss is tougher thanks to having those in place.  That felt a bit artificial the way I'd partly implemented it, though, so I wound up scrapping it since the ideal path was always just to go kill the buffs first and that was therefore just extra steps to get to the same end result.

But in terms of the core of what you're saying, in terms of needing to recreate that sense of an overwhelming challenge that you can chip away at -- that's absolutely something I couldn't agree with more.  That goes hand in hand with having a lot of tools at your disposal to chip away at that challenge in an interesting fashion.  To some extent I wonder if the entire world should be that kind of "boss."  It's kind of like how the AI War galaxies are a giant puzzle of sorts in themselves, right?  That mark IV world is one particularly intense part, but just taken in isolation without the rest of the galaxy I think it would be less interesting.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Martyn van Buren on November 28, 2011, 04:07:03 PM
Yeah, that's absolutely true --- one of the solutions to the Mk IV world is always "let it reinforce and just live with it," and you're always trying to look at it against a dozen other planets you could be throwing your ships at.

But tactically, I was thinking more about things you could do to change the actual room you have to fight in.  I don't know, having a little portable fort or status effect turrets (maybe ones that target you too) or some lava-in-a-bag.  But for that to work you'd have to at least be able to see the whole room while you're still under invincibility, I think, so you'd have time for a plan.  Does that make any sense at all?
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: x4000 on November 28, 2011, 04:10:19 PM
Yeah, that makes a ton of sense -- I'd not thought of anything like that, but it could be an interesting mechanic for sure.  Almost like some... tower offense elements.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Martyn van Buren on November 28, 2011, 04:18:56 PM
Tight.  I think it appeals to me for the same reason you mentioned about switching to side-view --- it makes space not just space.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Ixiohm on November 28, 2011, 04:27:26 PM
I like this idea too :) How about a spell that make you kind of astral project (visually maybe similar to the vengeful ghosts). In this form you could scout and make some preparations without drawing the attention of the enemy. However, you would not be able to physically interact with anything and the preparations you make would only 'activate' once your character travels there physically.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: x4000 on November 28, 2011, 04:30:55 PM
I like this idea too :) How about a spell that make you kind of astral project (visually maybe similar to the vengeful ghosts). In this form you could scout and make some preparations without drawing the attention of the enemy. However, you would not be able to physically interact with anything and the preparations you make would only 'activate' once your character travels there physically.

That would be really cool!
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Hearteater on November 28, 2011, 04:33:48 PM
Inventory

The less inventory I have in the field (to a point), the more creative I need to be in selecting what I bring with me.  You've already touched on this with the spell ammo concept.  But an important part of making inventory selection interesting is to make the costs interesting.

For example, if I can carry an equal number of 10 types of items and they each solve a different problem, I'll carry an amount of each type proportionate to how often I encounter those problems.  If there are 30 item types each of which solves three problems, I now am burning solutions to two other problems each time I use an item.

Further, if I had extremely limited in carrying capacity for any item I haven't increased my max capacity, things become more complicated and interesting.  Each player is now making decisions based on what he is capable of carrying.  Somewhat similar to the limitation of starting ship types in AI Wars.  Implicit here is you can never max all your item types capacity.  I actually would say to a degree, item types would be similar to ship types in AI Wars, with certain core items being like the triangle ships.

Obstacles

I'd like to seem more physical obstacles (which would be the above mentioned "problems" although other things can be problems too) that require certain items to overcome, or cost a steep amount of health/mana/spell ammo as an alternate means of passing them.  For example:

* Magical barriers over doors/chests that can be removed with something, or destroyed with a lot of spell damage (problem for non-cost spells as that just makes it a time cost which is bad).  So bring the counter, or burn a lot of mana/ammo.

* Attrition Totems that slowly damage the player in the chunk until destroyed.  Certain items can make you immune to the damage, so if you opt not to carry those items you'll lose health when you encounter them.

* Anti-Warp stone that prevents warping into or out of a chunk.  This might be something that gets seeded into a fairly large (4-8 adjacent chunks) area to make the items that circumvent it more interesting.

* Null Magic Field that occupies an area of a surface chunk (unlimited vertical height, limited horizatal size) that prevents spell casting, or at least reduces the effect of spells you cast.

* Rotting Mold in caves on the walls that destroys any wooden platforms after a few minutes (guess you should have brought steel platforms)

Unlocking Chunk Warps

Part of the challenge with this idea is once a player passes an obstacle, they can return to town to recover and then warp past the obstacle that was expensive to bypass.  So maybe chunks shouldn't be warp targets automatically when visited if certain obstacles are present.  In fact, warp unlocks should maybe only be applied when the player reaches a chunk through a path that contains no un-defeated obstacles.  Think of it like supply in AI Wars.  I can ignore an Attrition Totem (losing a bit of health) but I won't unlock that chunk for warping TO (I can still warp out) and further I won't unlock any other chunk I visit past that point until I personally travel an unblocked path.

This would still leave players always with the option to leave, but going deeper would require them to either bite the bullet on the alternate resource costs, or bring the right item to get past.

Spell Customization

Making custom spells to solve your problems is fun and interesting.  More so when the custom spells are strict improvements in every area, but instead specializations.  As long as limitations come with power, we'll be forced to be more creative with our spells.  Obviously our inventory needs to limit our spell slots to some very reasonable number.  I'd say 8-10 is probably close to ideal.  It could be interesting if we could make multi-slot spells that were powerful at the expense of less diversity.

I'll wait to see the crests to see what direction you go with custom spells.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: TNSe on November 28, 2011, 04:36:44 PM
I was thinking about the strategic view and the village view. And the more and more I was thinking about it, the less inclined I am to keeping the village view. Everything in the village view can be done on the strategic view instead, think more like Civilization. Actually right now, village view adds an extra complexity to the game with very minor impact on the rest of the game.

With more focus on building buildings/securing areas for villages (somehow allow you to claim, demonsterize tiles) and building on them... I dunno, maybe it turns the game too much into civilization. And this kind of game has been somewhat done before, in Actraiser (which is a great game). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_a0boYKS1RI
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Dizzard on November 28, 2011, 05:16:58 PM
Well in terms of developing your civilization I'd like to see a more obvious "we're going out and doing this" rather than just clicking on something and it's done. This might already be planned but I figured I'd mention it. So you might actually bump into npcs doing the missions you set them out to do and you can choose to lend them a hand. It would also mean if your npcs aren't properly equipped they might get ambushed while on a mission and never come home. At the moment I don't really feel my npcs are at all threatened because I just never advance the turn when there's a mob next to one of my towns.

Possibly there could be some kind of magical "radio" system that could be set up. When active you may receive alerts from other people in peril nearby (your settlers, people from other civs, separate survivors or maybe even an enemy faction). You can choose whether to answer their call and if you do help them there will be consequences (generally good but something bad could occasionally happen too). For example saving your own settlers will result in a morale boost. Saving setters outside your civilization they might join your civilization or the relationship between their civ (if they belong to one) and yours would get a boost. On the other hand it would be interesting to have a dilemma where coming to the rescue might not always be the best choice....or you have to decide between saving your own people or saving the people of the civilization you're currentely trying to suck up to.

I agree with the spell customization too, something really "out there" in terms of mixing spells would be very welcome. I mentioned in another thread it would be neat to really get a sense of being like a wizard concocting new spells.....with some mystery attached to what the result is going to be. I'd really like to be in a position where I could mix items and not really expect to get anything special (or expect to get a "mess" back)....but then out pops this really cool spell from nowhere. Feel like I'm the one creating the spells and not necessarily being told "this + this = this" so much.

It would be interesting to be in position where you could logically look at two items and say "I wonder if I put these together.....will I get this?" and then you try it and hey bingo a spell similar to what you were thinking of is created. I bet the spell system could be one of AVWW's big strengths.

Not sure if this is what you're looking for in this thread though.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: zebramatt on November 28, 2011, 05:27:03 PM
One thing I enjoyed in Starcraft II were the occasions on which you got the choice to do one of two possible missions, completion of which would then give you a distinctly different advantage in the next level. Like, you'd raid the space platform to prevent air support on the world below in the next mission, or take our their transport network to stymie their reinforcement capabilities. You could only do one, and whichever mission you chose was permanent.

Lifting some of that, giving the player the option to either do X or Y side-quest to hinder an overlord or help themselves - but never both X and Y - might, combined with some of the other ideas above, lead to some feeling that your choices actually matter.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Coppermantis on November 28, 2011, 06:48:22 PM
I like Zebramatt's idea a lot.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Teal_Blue on November 28, 2011, 06:49:35 PM
:)  the thing that comes immediately to my mind is settlements and resources. By that i mean currently we have a settlement, or several, (i just have one so far), but we have everything we need in this one place.

It might be more interesting, if say the player had a choice in the type of settlement is first created, and or is created at all.

Say, that i prefer a strategic overview of the world i venture out in, and so, build a settlement with several iLari stones that give me a strategic overview of the world, what is where and what is friendly and what is not.

Or if i prefer, what if my first settlement was a resource gathering settlement, full of wood mills and stone cutter buildings that give me a definite advantage to housing all my settlers, and headstones for the graveyards of those that i lose, or perhaps there might be other uses for stone? Perhaps in building different kinds of new buildings?

Or perhaps my first settlement is a magic oriented settlement, revolving around producing spells of various sorts, but perhaps i need to find skilled 'gem cutters' in the npc's in the field first? Or teach them, which may mean building schools, where i have to have a certain level skilled gem cutter first. Say my gem cutter is only level 3 that i have found, meaning i can only train gem cutters to that level and no more until i get a more skilled cutter npc into my settlement.

We might also have farm settlements, that produce only food, and nothing else. But need the storage sheds built into the settlement to expand production?

This might mean we have to have those 'roads' used by 'caravans' that travel between settlements to distribute out products, be they gem stones, food or wood and stone or whatever?

Also, having npc's venture out into the world, and running across them, as they pursue their ends, makes for interesting interaction, or choices between the player and new npc's you come across, or don't come across.

In addition, the players reputation, might of course mean that the npc's are either interested or not interested in joining with the player?

In this way, there are several 'elements' that we have 'choice' and options with.

Do i as a player, build up all my resource settlements first? Does this mean that i am a 'Turtling' type of player?
Or do i build up armies in quickly built military schools where my npc's and i all go against 100 bosses in a lava chunk?

Do i chose to put all my interests into building 'Spell' settlements where skilled gem-cutters make fabulous spells, and perhaps if i do, i have an advantage in having my npc's 'find' those new gem veins?

Does the terrain itself vary enough, that my settlement is in the hills and therefor less accessible to armies? Meaning they would have to attack 'up the slope' of the mountain as they near my settlement?

Or is my settlement wedged in between two massive mountains in the south, meaning that the only access into my settlement is through a valley that i heavily fortify?

Now this means of course, some changes to some things, or how things 'may' look as they are added?

How do i create a map with a settlement in between two mountains and the only road in is through the single valley that acts as a choke hold? Perhaps,  the tiles on the over-world have to get more detailed? Or have a mouse-over or right-click view that gives us a more precise view of the area?

And if there are single access settlements, what if there are many accessed sites as well? Meaning the enemy could attack from several fronts, and if i am allocating my resources where do i place them? I could be over-run, because i didn't see that the back slope of the settlement was the hardest, but also the most direct into my camp.

Anyway, i think that giving the player options and choices to go one way, or build certain types of things, in the same way that players chose which ships to build and what planets to take, and how in AI War, would increase the degree of complexity and strategy and choice and depth that AVWW already has, and certainly one  that i would love to see.

I think we can do this several ways, one of which is to play with numbers, meaning that Spell settlements get +1 to finding gems and gem veins, or wood, or stone, or food, or whatever. And the same for the advantages and disadvantages for settlements located in rough or deeply inaccessible terrain? +1 or +2 to the home teams defense, or attacks abilities. Also, there could be + or - stats added to those settlements depending on the number of npc settlers. So say, my settlement of 5 people has less of a chance at defending than say a settlement of 10 or 20.

There might be also 'types' of skills, saying that my farm community of 10 people has less attack skill to overcome, or less defense skill to overcome a horde of advancing monsters, or raiders that have come to loot and pillage my town. But my settlement of 5 spell masters, has more ability against those very same looters. 

Using numbers of course, means that we don't have to create 'art assets' that appear in game, they can simply be stats added to areas that are already 'visually defined'.

Or choosing to go 'visually' expressive would make for some 'visual difference and visual interest' from what is currently in the game.

Of course choosing to go more visual is more costly, and takes longer to get in. Text and number stats added are quicker and have no art asset cost to them.

Or a mixture of both,  :) 

But choosing what to build, and how many and where, and so forth, makes for some interesting differences, because not all players are going to play or choose the same things, making their game experiences different. 

And perhaps that is a neat thing too?

:)

Just my two cents,

-Teal



Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Coppermantis on November 28, 2011, 07:06:05 PM
A few ideas I have. These haven't exactly been thought out, so they might be bad ideas. I dunno.

1: more unique region conditions. As far as I can see, there are two types of condition a region can be in: stormy, or calm (under protection of a wind shelter). I think a few more possibilities (stacked with the storm, since that's a global effect) would be nice. You could encounter a flooded region where there's a layer of water covering the low-ground, or a burning one with fire popping up and doing damage or even a radioactive spill that causes monsters to mutate into more advanced and deadly versions. The region would have to be scouted or visited in order to identify what it was, and the effects wouldn't be too common. (maybe one in eight regions have an unusual effect with the more deadly ones being even more rare.)

2: Maybe optional game modifiers, like the minor factions or AI plots in AI war. For an example, to mimic one from AI war, after an overlord is killed, a very powerful group of rampaging monsters appears on the doorstep of a random settlement (doorstep being within 1 or 2 tiles). Something toggleable to add difficulty if it's wanted.

3:As has been discussed in other threads, character customization such as allocating points to skills and attributes would be cool, in my opinion.

4: I'll probably think of more later when I have more time.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Bluddy on November 28, 2011, 09:44:39 PM
Focusing only on the side-scrolling, I'm going to go with "interesting object and enemy rules".

I consider Spelunky to be one of the best examples of procedurally generated 2d action. Anyone who hasn't played it really should -- it's free, and it's pretty great. In Spelunky, making your way down the caves is hazardous, and you're surrounded by objects and actors that follow rules. You learn to exploit these rules to survive, and these same rules also generate emergent behaviors.

As an example, consider arrow traps. Anything that moves in front of them gets shot at by arrows, but there's only one arrow per trap. So you learn that you need to throw something (any object: a rock, a bone) in front of the trap to cause it to fire its single arrow. Sometimes, monsters will be resting in front of an arrow trap. Approaching the monsters causes them to move, which will immediately trigger the arrow trap. So the very thing that's built to hurt the player can be used by some players as a weapon.

There are countless other examples: Bombs blow holes in walls and monsters, but can also blow the player up. Spiny traps are deadly, but lure a creature next to them with the right timing and they'll be killed. Jungle frogs blow up, taking out all enemies around them. Blowing a hole in the bottom of a lake will drain the lake, killing the piranhas inside. Good players will know how to use their environment and the particular patterns of their enemies to advance their aims.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: CoyoteTheClever on November 28, 2011, 10:08:23 PM
I think you hit the nail on the head of where the player cleverness comes in both Terraria and Minecraft X4000. The thing about Terraria is that it is a game with some static elements, where you might be defending your fort during a blood moon or summoning a boss and fighting on certain terrain, and those are where you are free to place your blocks and do clever things. When you have the non-static gameplay of exploration in Terraria (And AVWW) though, it comes more down to resource management and player skill than cleverness.

My thought is that this exploration section of the game wouldn't be the most easily accommodating for player cleverness in AVWW and that you'd be better off developing it into either the strategic map somehow, or the settlement building part of the game. My thought here is that perhaps the strategic map could be changed so when the player moves around a certain amount, a turn is used up, and when monsters invade your settlement, you can defend it with the people living in that settlement and whatever equipment you've given them and whatever defenses you've put into your settlement. The player would have some creativity allowed to them in how they choose to deal with the monster threats and how they build up their settlement would be more of a dilemma (Do they build up one strong against monster attacks, or focus on gathering resources first), and the secondary characters who live in your settlement would also get more focus that way.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: FallingStar on November 28, 2011, 10:26:34 PM
Some emergent systems of cleverness (possibly):

-- Spell mechanics that help combinations.  Not like necessarily a combo system, though that would be interesting.  Already in AVWW some emergent things happen like firing a tidal pulse + a energy ball with knockback can have an interesting interaction of hitting a mob back into the tidal pulse a second time.  More interactions like that. A spell that could direct all other spell effects to a target, so things like the meteor storm could be re-concentrated into a stream or a fireball guided around like a homing projectile.  Or spells leaving some sort of aftereffect, whether as a DOT that could be exploited by other spells (ie on fire makes x types of spell do more damage) or things like thrown rocks remaining about a bit, then pushed about or siezed or the like. 

-Weakspots - a favorite of many games, just the idea of having to hit a particular place to do extra damage.  Its not nearly as emergent interesting, but it is a cleverness mechanic.

-Mentioned this in another brainstorming thread, but a really short hotbar, and treating it more like equipped slots could make for a much more focused strategies and the like.  Especially if a combo system (more mechanical) was built into it - Ie more fire spells on the hotbar, the more secondary fire effects you get or if you mix colors you have more versatility and perhaps more of the emergent combo effects happening.


A few other aspects, perhaps more out there:

-Worldcrafting - Not like building houses or digging tunnels, but as in moving/ modifying the chunks on the strat map and altering their level.  As different ages were assembled like a puzzle, perhaps unique things could pop up in them, or settlements in them could contribute more to the fight with a given overlord.  Sort of a Bastion feel-ish in a way, with a bit of zen garden styling.

-More on the permadeath - A totally interesting idea, but feels anemic atm.  I think this would be a help to rewarding cleverness overall.  A failed raid/ assault in AI war meant losing time to rebuilding and possibly losing something of value, in AVWW player death feels like it should matter more than it does now.  I don't want corpse runs, don't get me wrong, but just something that felt like more of a setback and thus forced me to plan things out a lot more.


I'll probably toss out more later, as I feel like there's some on the tip of my brain, but jsut throwing a few out.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: x4000 on November 28, 2011, 10:53:45 PM
Still mulling, but a few notes:

1. The idea of obstacles as mentioned by Hearteater are kind of along the lines of something we've been thinking of doing anyhow, just for general game-flow reasons (I believe that Bluddy mentioned those in another thread), but there are some really nice ideas in Hearteater's post.

2. We really need to get that crests system in place!  It's the next thing for Keith after multiplayer, which is getting ever closer, at least.  It's not a true spell creation system, as in you can't make something completely new, but it's a really interesting way to augment and modify spells.

3. zebramatt's idea of the two exclusive branching mission paths is really interesting.  That would fit really well with the missions I hope to implement in general, and would give more of a choice to them rather than making them just a linear path.  A binary path is much better!

4. Teal_Blue, you have some good points on making the settlements more robust in general, but bear in mind that mostly that falls under Keith's purview rather than mine, and I know he has a ton of plans already.  Doing lots of visual variances really isn't likely in the short-term (pre-1.0), but it would be interesting to explore longer-term if this takes off.

5. Coppermantis's idea of the region modifiers like toxic spills or flaming regions is really cool!  I think that would fit best as being part of the mission system, really, but it would make for some interesting missions. 

6. Coppermantis's idea of having optional game modifiers are definitely out as I don't want any form of game lobby, but wrapping the core concept of what you're talking about into in-game choices is something I'd really love to do.  In other words, rather than clicking a menu option that you want to have rogue faction X in the game, you'd see their icon somewhere in the world.  If you go piss them off, they become more of a force in the game.  If you leave them alone, they don't show up more.

7. Several folks mentioned having stat upgrades for characters, and I think the personas concept that Keith and I will be working on before too long will really scratch a big part of that itch.

8. Bluddy, you make a really good point about making the actual monsters and obstacles more interactive and interesting.  To a large extent that was already something that was planned, but I guess I keep discounting the effect that can be had of combining that sort of thing.  I really need to branch more into not just monsters, but other sorts of obstacles that enrich the monsters or work with them, that you can deal with.  That's not something I'd really been thinking about much at all, but it's at the core of all your examples: some non-monster obstacle plus a monster led to an interesting circumstance.  I think that's something that really could go a hugely long way here, and I'd not thought of that in a global sense at all until you brought up your examples.

9. CoyoteTheClever, Keith has a lot of cool things planned for the strategic side in particular, and you're right I think a lot of the depth would naturally come from there.  I guess I'm more focused on making the crafting, adventuring, exploring, combat, and other side-view and world-map mechanics as rich as I can at the moment, though.

10. FallingStar, weakspots are sort of interesting but it seems like so many games do those.  I'm sure I will as well, but I'm less enthused just because it's so common, even though it is a good mechanic.  I'd kind of rather have somethign else occupy that same space.

11. FallingStar's idea about rearranging the world itself is also actually kind of interesting.  I'm not sure what that would do to the sense of exploration, but it's not an idea I'd considered before so it's interesting to mull. 

12. FallingStar's other idea about permadeath was such a good topic I split that off into another thread.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Martyn van Buren on November 28, 2011, 11:58:20 PM

I'd like to seem more physical obstacles (which would be the above mentioned "problems" although other things can be problems too) that require certain items to overcome, or cost a steep amount of health/mana/spell ammo as an alternate means of passing them.  For example:

* Attrition Totems that slowly damage the player in the chunk until destroyed.  Certain items can make you immune to the damage, so if you opt not to carry those items you'll lose health when you encounter them.

* Anti-Warp stone that prevents warping into or out of a chunk.  This might be something that gets seeded into a fairly large (4-8 adjacent chunks) area to make the items that circumvent it more interesting.

* Null Magic Field that occupies an area of a surface chunk (unlimited vertical height, limited horizatal size) that prevents spell casting, or at least reduces the effect of spells you cast.


I really like Hearteater's obstacle ideas (cut a few to make the quote shorter), especially the anti-warp stone.  Basically, it seems to me that you want to have full warp almost everywhere in the game, but there are a few places --- say, strongholds, to start --- where it would be interesting not to be able to.

This raises another issue, for me --- AVWW hasn't got enough unique places that you really want to get to yet, so local challenges don't seem like they'd work.  To make the AI Wars analogy, there's nothing like an advanced factory that can force you to want to go to some particular dangerous and difficult place --- so if it's hard to get to a jade vein on a map or even some magma, I'm probably going to go try another area.  Is this something that you reckon will be better once there's more content?  Otherwise, I think it might be worth a new thread to talk about.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Martyn van Buren on November 29, 2011, 04:42:48 AM
Actually, looking at Fallingstar's idea about rearranging the world --- perhaps there could be something hidden deep in a cave that you'd have to find and activate to be able to move a region?  There would have to be some way of knowing where it was, but I'd like to have some reason to go down to the bottom of caves.  I always want to explore way down in them, but I get a bit disheartened knowing I'm not going to find anything but another dozen tier III sapphires.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: superking on November 29, 2011, 05:58:22 AM
some suggestions:

Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Bluddy on November 29, 2011, 02:24:13 PM
To flesh out my objects idea with some examples that fit the game:

1. Some caves could have stalactites and stalagmites. Hitting the stalactites will cause them to drop, damaging anything in their way. You'd want to use a targeted spell rather than a big explosion spell so as not to cause all of them to fall, but since they're unstable, hitting one could cause others to break and fall.
2. An increase gravity spell could cause flying enemies to fall, either in an acid pool or on a stalagmite. A levitate spell could cause all enemies to 'fall' upwards and hit stalactites.
3. Find uses for the objects already in the game. Make a spell to fling objects at enemies. Different objects should react differently. This would be a lot more fun than just being able to destroy objects.
4. I don't like the new way monsters falling in acid pools is handled. This was one of the coolest things in the caves. Especially now that they have new AI and therefore can be made to try to get out of pools when they fall in, monsters should die when they fall in pools just as you can.
5. There are so many mushrooms in the caves. Maybe hitting them could release random gasses based on the mushroom types? One could blind you, another could give you a trip, a third type could explode... They'd do the same to the enemies of course.
6. I loved the falling trees in the old AVWW demos. And now all the trees do is swing a little before disappearing. Why not have them fall and damage stuff first? Since so many trees are seeded in some areas, maybe only the huge trees should do that.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: x4000 on November 29, 2011, 02:38:58 PM
A couple of notes:

1. Messing with gravity for enemies, and having stalactites and such, sounds really fun.

2. Regarding monsters dying in pools of water or lava, that's really incompatible with multiplayer.  Any sort of ambient damage to monsters from the environment can't be made to work in multiplayer given the model that we're using (which we haven't fully revealed yet, so that's kind of cryptic).

3. Having various existing objects do new and interesting things is definitely planned.  I'd not thought about the mushrooms, but I have been meaning to make certain background objects explosive, etc.  I think that's even in mantis.  But the mushrooms idea is really cool, and immediately would make the caves really different from other parts of the game.  That, plus several of the other ideas, are definitely worth moving to mantis so that they don't get forgotten!

4. I think the trees might swing around a bit less now than they used to when rocketed by explosions, but the actual animations are pretty much the same as they always were I think.  The swinging being wider wound up looking kind of odd when it wasn't viewed really small on youtube, I felt.

5. Regional monster buffs sound really interesting!

6. Monster arenas are actually planned for sometime in the future, partly as an outlet for pvp style multiplayer play.

7. Don't worry about NPCs and combat mode, Keith has something extremely robust planned there.  Hence why it's not in place yet, it's a huge feature.

8. Warp portals could be interesting, but we've got some plans to do some "continents" breakup of the world actually, and the warp portals might not play well with that.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Bluddy on November 29, 2011, 03:57:01 PM
Re: 2, what I get from that is that you can't have the environment damage monsters because you attribute any dead monster not killed by one player as having been killed by another? I guess that means players don't actually get to see each other in the same chunk...? Maybe you even create a different instance of each monster locally... That would make environmental damage impossible, since another player wouldn't have the monster in the same position. Yeah, that actually makes the most sense. So I'm guessing you do see some representation of the other player, but not exactly what they're doing. You probably update only monster health and status effects between players.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Hearteater on November 29, 2011, 04:02:03 PM
Did monsters used to die in the poison water?  I swear I recall that happening.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: tigersfan on November 29, 2011, 04:13:16 PM
Did monsters used to die in the poison water?  I swear I recall that happening.

Yep, but this was changed because of problems it was causing in multiplayer.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: x4000 on November 29, 2011, 04:16:14 PM
Re: 2, what I get from that is that you can't have the environment damage monsters because you attribute any dead monster not killed by one player as having been killed by another? I guess that means players don't actually get to see each other in the same chunk...? Maybe you even create a different instance of each monster locally... That would make environmental damage impossible, since another player wouldn't have the monster in the same position. Yeah, that actually makes the most sense. So I'm guessing you do see some representation of the other player, but not exactly what they're doing. You probably update only monster health and status effects between players.

You're close, at any rate, with that last.  Though not having environmental damage from monsters is really bugging me more and more (it was bugging me even before you brought it up, but not as strongly).  I talked with Keith a bit via email, and I think I have a better middle-ground that will let us do environmental damage that is MP-safe without too much in the way of oddness.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Cyborg on November 29, 2011, 07:52:30 PM
Without nailing down a very specific play…this is only an example of what I am trying to describe, and that is unifying the different parts of the game into one connected flow to create a unique character/experience.


For example, right now all of the tiles in a given area of the same type feel relatively the same. So I came up with the idea of "liberating" a tile, and once liberated, that tile could be coerced into some mechanic that would either contribute towards the settlement, the overlord they are rebelling against, or permanent player changes.

Right now you have a lot of side views of different kinds of houses and buildings; what if some of these were reserved for a liberated tile? For example, upon liberation, you use the smoke graphic and over the course of a few "turns," buildings appear and NPC's began to mill around and perform some kind of default construction of materials that get sent to your settlement, perhaps donate troops, or even unlock characters (personas?) that you can play. Allowing the player to configure that is a bonus, and even a, "thank you for liberating us from Overlord Foobar's henchmen. As a token of our thanks, we offer you…" Makes Toad look stingy.

What does this accomplish?
1) Real rewards that offer choices, acknowledgment and gratification for completing what amounts to a "level. " The settlement game isn't that in-your-face right now, doesn't really feel like you're getting anywhere when you complete a level.
2) For the settlement, the more tiles liberate, the greater the rebellion. Your choice in how to represent that rebellion, well, I think that's where the cleverness has to come in. That's where you decide what benefits and rewards we can choose from. If the overlords castle was a little bit more tricky, I think that could make some very appropriate rewards. Personally, I would like a mercenary to travel with me and take the fall. Perhaps even more dramatic, maybe have 20 NPC's rushing the gate at the same time. Even if they die, that's fine, it just has cool factor.
3) Your actions actually change the world. Right now, we have the distinction of making the world even more desolate by removing monsters.

I don't really understand settlements yet, as far as where you are going with it, but it should be something that grows with the player with each successive settlement, or perhaps give one main settlement that grows over time.
It would be nice if you gave NPC's a set of five behaviors, then we could have some kind of emergent town behavior. If this was meaningful in what their contributions were to the rebellion, even better. Having random word bubbles above some of the NPC's occasionally could be kind of funny. It adds a little bit of liveliness.

The overlord needs to be scaring the crap out of people, act menacing, and if that's not possible, play the comedic villain. Maybe send notes to the settlements (could do the same thing that the epitaph thread does, except make them letters from the overlord). Perhaps they could be read as speech bubbles by the NPC's.

I want my character to be different than someone else's at level 60. If we are all running around with the same look and the same spells, is just not as fun. A specialization would be nice. Red mage, black mage, white mage... just as an example.

And finally, I think that allowing people to make levels was a great idea. There are relatively harmless modifications you could allow, such as sprites to cover existing character/enemy skeletons. To some extent, modifying the game to allow for future purposes, keep that in your heads right now as you work on it. More hooks, more hooks.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: superking on November 29, 2011, 09:59:12 PM
some ideas that might reward clever play:

reflective surfaces- spell projectiles bounce off them, with a small % chance of detonating to stop infinite bounce between two opposed mirrors. p players rebounded spell can harm the player.

for bonus points, a spell that causes a surface to become mirrored

deployable barricade- another use for wood. deploys a blocking object. non-flying monsters will attack it if it lies between them and the player, eventually destroying it.

deployable palisade- another use for wood. deploys an object that blocks all projectiles until destroyed, but can players and NPCs can walk through.

for bonus points, one or more monster classes capable of deploying or behaving correctly in the use of a deployable palisade.

net- a spell that causes flying creatures caught in its affect to be dragged down to ground level and greatly slowed

slow burn - a spell that causes a slow burning fire at its point of impact, that deals damage to creatures touching the effect for the duration of the fire. this could be used in conjunction with blocking and traps to creative a roasting pit for enemy monsters

banish - a spell that causes enemies to vanish for a short period, before re-appearing where they were hit.

jump pad - a construction that, when walked upon, propells the monster or player high into the air. destroys itself after a few uses.

gaurdian - summons a magic globe that floats at the location it is cast that automatically fires projectiles at nearby monsters

constructable golems - immobile constructs that when completed, automatically throw spells at nearby enemies. can be placed to supress areas, help with bosses or defend villages. monsters attack and eventually destroy them. they require difficult to aqquire ingredients.

localised enviromental effects - areas in a cave where, eg, golden pollen seems to be floating in the air. so long as players or npcs are in the cloud, they maintain the heading and most the velocity they had when entering, and the effect of gravity is greatly diminished.

Prisms- class constructs that, when hit with a projectile spell, fire out a large number of identical projectiles at random angles (or distributed to be targetted at nearby enemies).

an enemy type that is fragile but very deadly that has the ability to immitate background objects (trees, powerlines etc). when the player comes near, it attacks.
Title: Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
Post by: Ganrao on September 09, 2013, 06:16:05 AM
I had one moment where I felt clever in AVWW, and it was vs. a spiny boss that looked sort of like a brown drill that floated along the ground and shot out seeking missile spines at me constantly. This boss deflected most of my shots and I was not sure how I was going to beat it, until I remembered I had "Campfire", a spell I never thought I would use. The battle was won by me just running away from the boss dropping campfires behind me, eventually, and it almost seems like that spell was made specifically to help with bosses like that one, in retrospect.