Author Topic: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying  (Read 11244 times)

Offline Underfot

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2011, 08:05:36 AM »
I think receiving a unique random instrinsic for a character each time they defeat a significant boss would work, as players would want to amass them...

This, combined with glyph transfers, would allow you to stock a settlement with previously buffed characters.  You could pull out the one with the best bonuses for the task at hand.  Love it.

Offline Hearteater

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2011, 03:33:51 PM »
On the topic of losing ammo on death, can I recommend it be a % of current amounts, rather than a fixed amount?  Say you lose 20% of the ammo you are carrying.  This makes the penalty larger when you are really well equipped and can suffer a bigger hit, but much smaller when you have barely any ammo and can ill afford to lose it all.

Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2011, 06:22:20 PM »
On the topic of losing ammo on death, can I recommend it be a % of current amounts, rather than a fixed amount?  Say you lose 20% of the ammo you are carrying.  This makes the penalty larger when you are really well equipped and can suffer a bigger hit, but much smaller when you have barely any ammo and can ill afford to lose it all.

That could work, yeah.
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Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2011, 10:58:32 PM »
I just linked to this in the character bonus thread, but (forgive me if this comes off as spamming), I wanted to put it in here too: Chris's pre-beta design goals for death: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,8507.msg75817.html#msg75817.  Specifically, ". When a character dies, the player should feel the loss in some manner.  It shouldn't be like losing a life in Mario where it's just utterly unmemorable," which made it sound more like it was supposed to be a story thing than losing some buffs. Are these gone?  I really liked them.

Offline Baleyg

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2011, 11:22:10 PM »
Originally posted in the bonuses thread, but it has significance here, too.

Here's a thought.  What if, in addition to any effects on the character you're playing, the settlements can also obtain traits like generals in Total War?

Lose a character who has hit the bonus cap and the settlement gains, for example, "A hero to avenge:  This settlement has lost a beloved hero and will fight all the harder to give his/her sacrifice meaning.  +10% effectiveness in strategic combat."
Lose a bunch of fresh characters by zerg rushing a boss and you might gain, say, "Broken in spirit:  So many failed heroes have come from this settlement that everyone seems ready to submit to the overlord.  -20% effectiveness in strategic combat."
Take down an army in the metroidvania game and earn something like "A hero of legend: The champion of this settlement is so powerful that citizens already consider themselves free.  -10% effectiveness in strategic combat, +30 morale."

Each success or failure, along with random chance, will slowly mold a settlement into a unique blend of traits.  Gaining positive traits and removing negative traits could be rewards for side missions.

Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2011, 02:34:57 AM »
Off topic, I was just thinking --- one game that really did NPC death well was Oregon Trail.  At least when I was eight I really felt bad if Jeremiah died of his snake bite.  If only I'd let him eat full rations.

Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2011, 11:01:29 AM »
Well, story-wise isn't really what I'm talking about here, I'm more the mechanics guy for this specific game, so that's what I'm focused on.  And my view is that if the mechanics reinforce what is going on in the story, that it's really a much bigger win.

In terms of the larger emotional impact, that's still something we want to try for, but in a procedural world of this sort with procedural characters, that may really be stretching what is possible.  A lot of the Personas stuff that Keith is going to be working on soon will help address the emotional connection to characters, but it's not the specific character that died -- rather a lot of the characters that look the same are actually multiverse instances of the same root Persona.

So if we take Martyn as an example, if his core persona was named Martyn and we know his life story, then that's something hand-crafted that we can make memorable and poignant.  But then as you are playing you see three different copies of Martyn running around, one of which is your current character, and they all have different names and personal life histories because they are all from different universes in the multiverse.  They are all shadows of this larger persona that you care more about, but when the specific shadow dies it's going to be a little hard to make the player truly care most of the time.

I could be wrong, and I would love to be wrong, but I'd be surprised if we really nailed that level of emotional impact to specific shadows of a persona before 1.0.  For 1.0 the focus is more on the mechanical fun, and the stories of the personas themselves and making them memorable, and the ongoing story of the world at a different level, and whatever else we have time for.  Though Keith would probably phrase all that a bit differently at least, and remember that he's the primary on that side of things rather than me, so I may have misspoken about some critical element there.  But that's the general idea anyway. ;)
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Offline superking

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2011, 10:43:30 AM »
Well, story-wise isn't really what I'm talking about here, I'm more the mechanics guy for this specific game, so that's what I'm focused on.  And my view is that if the mechanics reinforce what is going on in the story, that it's really a much bigger win.

In terms of the larger emotional impact, that's still something we want to try for, but in a procedural world of this sort with procedural characters, that may really be stretching what is possible.  A lot of the Personas stuff that Keith is going to be working on soon will help address the emotional connection to characters, but it's not the specific character that died -- rather a lot of the characters that look the same are actually multiverse instances of the same root Persona.

So if we take Martyn as an example, if his core persona was named Martyn and we know his life story, then that's something hand-crafted that we can make memorable and poignant.  But then as you are playing you see three different copies of Martyn running around, one of which is your current character, and they all have different names and personal life histories because they are all from different universes in the multiverse.  They are all shadows of this larger persona that you care more about, but when the specific shadow dies it's going to be a little hard to make the player truly care most of the time.

I could be wrong, and I would love to be wrong, but I'd be surprised if we really nailed that level of emotional impact to specific shadows of a persona before 1.0.  For 1.0 the focus is more on the mechanical fun, and the stories of the personas themselves and making them memorable, and the ongoing story of the world at a different level, and whatever else we have time for.  Though Keith would probably phrase all that a bit differently at least, and remember that he's the primary on that side of things rather than me, so I may have misspoken about some critical element there.  But that's the general idea anyway. ;)

I read this several times, each time coming away with almost no idea what you are talking about  :P

correct me if I am wrong: each character graphic = a single character, and multiple of his graphic = different versions of him pulled from different universes?

If that is being implemented as a fluff solution to limited art resources, its probably not neceserry... players are used to using their imaginations with regard to NPC identity (eg. all the unatco troopers in deux ex having the same face and voice). I raise this because the whole buisness of ghosts, multiverses and shadows seems pretty confusing!

Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2011, 10:51:19 AM »
correct me if I am wrong: each character graphic = a single character, and multiple of his graphic = different versions of him pulled from different universes?

More or less, yes.

If that is being implemented as a fluff solution to limited art resources, its probably not neceserry... players are used to using their imaginations with regard to NPC identity (eg. all the unatco troopers in deux ex having the same face and voice). I raise this because the whole buisness of ghosts, multiverses and shadows seems pretty confusing!

It's not really about limited art resources at all, because I know that's standard for games anyhow.  It's more about being able to do some interesting things with the personas themselves, such as making persona-specific upgrades (any instance of a character with that sprite gets that buff permanently, etc).  So you can have character progression that isn't tied to your specific character that might die, but at the same time isn't just global to you as a player too.
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Offline Dizzard

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2011, 01:24:29 PM »
I think the best way to strengthen character and story value in a procedural game like this would be to really support attachment to these npcs as much as possible and also encourage people to develop their own stories too. Really drive that home.

It's easier for me though since I'm pretty sentimental I'll get reasonably attached to npcs/settlements anyway.


Offline Hyfrydle

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2011, 05:19:58 AM »
This is my first post in this brainstorming thread as all the ideas are blowing me away and I thought I knew what AVWW was :)

I was thinking maybe we need to look at two things to help prevent save scumming and the need to stick with the same character for as long as possible. The existing character needs to become personalised to the player so the players cares but then maybe on death the new character should gain some random perk or ability which makes each new character an exciting experience and lessens the impact of the previous characters death.

This needs to be balanced so people don't just kill characters until they achieve a bonus they like. Maybe a chance of a negative on a character after death will help towards this so a player wouldn't know what to expect on death. Nother idea is the bonus to the character on death is better dependant on how long the previous character has survived this would be an incentive to keep character alive as long as possibe. This bonus could be to the character, settlement or some other area of the game.

Offline gooseman

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2011, 02:37:39 PM »
If a character with multiple bonuses/perks/traits/or whatever scheme is decided upon/ dies, such a death would be significant considering the time spent advancing that character.  In order to make such a death less annoying, having a portion of these bonuses/perks/traits transferable by the players choice to a new avatar will take the sting out of the heroes death.  Considering the dead hero has a reputation with the settlements, your new avatar would try to emulate the hero to some degree picking up some small portion of the most useful buffs/perks/traits.

Offline Hearteater

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2011, 03:09:17 PM »
Just want to cross-post this from the bonus stacks thread, since they are somewhat related:

Say each time you level up your civilization four levels with the same character, he gains a random trait from a fairly large pool of traits.  These traits provide a benefit when the character is left in your settlement, but not otherwise.  Further, you can only "equip" one trait at a time, although you can change which trait is equipped on a character in your settlement at any time to any they have previously acquired.  If you acquire the same trait again on a character, that trait ranks up providing greater benefits.

Example Traits [changed from original thread]:
Vitalizer - Gives you a small number of Vitality Stones once per mission time.
Scavenger - You may select one item from a list of random equipment once per mission time.
Gem Cutter - Repairs one spell gem below 100% condition by 1-4% once per mission time.

With a largish pool of traits, say 20, you'd rarely get rank 2 traits, much less rank 3.  Those characters would be very valuable outside the metrovania mode and it would effectively create a retirement system which would limit power creep.  But it would be entirely voluntary, and you could bring characters out of retirement if you needed to do something their combat skills were really suited to.

Offline Revannefarious

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2012, 07:53:19 PM »
I'll admit, I'm a little late to the party. I've taken the time to read the two pages of posts XD, and I gotta say that there are many great ideas floating out there. Originally, this post was going to end up being on a page by itself with the accruing ideas popping into my head (mostly due to what you guys have already presented). I won't subject you to the torture of me going on a rampant tangent so... I've saved it to a wordpad document for now.  XD If you're interested enough, I could share the file via idea tracker, but for now... let's see if I can catch your interest.

The settlements need a monument dedicated to deceased glyphbearers the player has used. That's a start. It doesn't need to be super detailed in what information is on it either - just a name is fine. What can be done though in a future update is to have the names coloured depending on achievements that character had earned in that life cycle. Here's a lame example of what it might look like to us if we interacted with it:

"In memory of the Glyphbearers who have sacrificed everything for <insert settlement name>,
we hereby shall remember their names forever on this obelisk/tablet"
*~ Rest in Peace ~*
        John Doe

You get the idea :P The information you're not getting from me had to do with a family bloodline system, a title progression system tied to each family, and a penalty to go with the death of a character that affected that bonus earned. There were issues with it of course, but it was a great idea nonetheless. I definitely think that having a visual representation of loss is important, and that's what I wanted to convey with this post. (although only a third of this post is really dedicated to that...)

Offline lp0

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2012, 11:36:40 AM »
correct me if I am wrong: each character graphic = a single character, and multiple of his graphic = different versions of him pulled from different universes?

More or less, yes.

An idea might be to create a "meta personality" that encompasses some global statistics (benefits, negatives, whatever) relative to that specific character graphic ("Martyn", as the case may be); the player's "slice" of Martyn accrues benefits, some of which benefit every Martyn in the multiverse; so, for instance, if Martyn 1 died and the player created Martyn 2, some (not all) benefits might remain. From there, I can envision two possible branches (I'm sure there are more, this is just off the top of my head):

1) A la a Hollywood movie I once saw, there are a limited number of Martyn's in the multiverse - the story explanation for this is left as an exercise to the reader, but the gameplay ramification is that they cannot run around all "willy nilly" and waste Martyn's left and right; the implication is that they could not waste slices of any multiverse character, either. However, a possible twist (as per the Hollywood movie) is that the less Martyn's there are, the more powerful the remaining Martyn(s) become - the gameplay ramification being that the player has to manage their pool of Martyn's to meet their gameplay objectives - a single powerful embodiment of Martyn, or several mediocre Martyn's. Depending on the nature of various enemies in the world, this sort of gameplay mechanic might offer an implicit bonus/penalty to certain play styles.

This next point may or may not make sense, because I am relatively new to AVWW, so bear with me ...

2) I've noticed an increasing focus on missions; so, perhaps the players slice of Martyn accrues some abilities that allow him to effectively modify a mission in certain ways (maybe handicap a specific type of enemy, or all [mini]bosses have a permanent movement penalty), but this bonus is only for the players slice of Martyn and no other; if the players Martyn dies this bonus is lost until it is gained again (in some unspecified fashion). This is separate from the inventory, so there is no dreaded corpse-running, but also is tangible enough that the player will really feel it - permit me to be longwinded and elaborate here.

I, the player, control a specific slice of Martyn - we will call him Martyn X. Martyn X has, through unspecified means, acquired the ability to modify various mission parameters upon engaging in a mission - this allows him to tackle higher level missions than might otherwise be possible. If Martyn X dies, I can no longer attempt such high level missions and my progress is (significantly?) slowed, without having actually lost any inventory item, spell, etc.

Just some ideas.