Author Topic: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.  (Read 9067 times)

Offline Bluddy

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #15 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.

Offline CoyoteTheClever

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #16 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.

Offline FallingStar

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #17 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.

Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #18 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.
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Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #19 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.

Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #20 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.

Offline superking

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2011, 05:58:22 AM »
some suggestions:

  • Warp portals glowing rifts in space that are tiles spawned irregularly on the overworld map. Entering one causes the player to emerge from another rift somewhere else, usually somewhere of much higher level. discovering all the land inbetween on the overworld map gives the player a means of quickly moving from one point to the other, or they can be used as platforms to explore much higher level regions.
  • Regional monster buffs this one is inspired by Crackdown, a came with a suprisingly similar structure to AVWW. The basis of the game is there is a GTA like city split into four sectors by 4 crimelords, each who has 4 lieutenants. Each lieutenant buffs the crimelord and all of his minions in a different way- the arms dealer improves the quality of mob weapons, the car theif gives them better vehicles, the the druglord gives them abilities to ignore damage or go beserk etc. The player CAN just go straight for the crimelord, but it is incredibly difficult when the mobs have fully upgraded guns, cars, communications etc.

    In AVWW, I would have this come from a number of sources- lieutenants and some kind of structure that players can seek and destroy, like anobelisk. So, if players want to feel like they are pacifying an area, they can hunt these before taking on bigger threats.

    destroying an obelisk could remove all monster spawners within x tiles for example, and destroying lieutenants have effects like removing advanced behaviors from mobs, debuffing mobs, reducing spawn numbers, allowing the presence of some friendly mob that functions like resistance fighters in AI War etc

    I would even have seriously powerful objects scattered that, when destroyed , provide blanket buffs to eg. all survivors in towns, or debuffs to monsters.
  • For when a player wants a scrap, it would be cool to have monster arenas- huge basins full of monsters with somthing desirable within
  • it would nice if rescued humans could do somthing more combat related in strategic mode, like rally out to fight monsters and even clear out a sector of monsters. obviously these actions would need appropriate risk and cost. Possibly a warrior class human that you can assign to towns etc.

Offline Bluddy

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #22 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.

Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #23 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.
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Offline Bluddy

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #24 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.

Offline Hearteater

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2011, 04:02:03 PM »
Did monsters used to die in the poison water?  I swear I recall that happening.

Offline tigersfan

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #26 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.

Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #27 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.
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Offline Cyborg

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #28 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.
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Offline superking

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Show Me The Clever Players.
« Reply #29 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.