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Colony Ship RPG update #3 - when to expect

Discussion in 'Iron Tower Studio' started by Goral, Mar 13, 2016.

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  1. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

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    http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,7141.0.html

     
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  2. Aenra Guest

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    Vault Dweller Obersturmführer, why 'IF using Unreal 4 '? Doubts, or has something transpired in the meantime?
    Also, props for planning a demo. Again. Much appreciated :)

    edit: If no XP for killing, what will you add as a motivation factor?
     
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  3. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    It's still an unknown factor. I assume that we won't run into any real issues with Unreal 4 but I don't know for sure. Until we transfer all systems into Unreal 4 and see how much extra work the engine would require I won't be able to say for sure that that's the engine we'll be using.
     
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  4. Cazzeris Formerly Andross

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    So that's how the skill points will be distributed between the party members.

    Sounds much less gamist than I thought. It's great that pretty much all the usual AoD complaints are being apparently addressed, specially the 'flexible' development schedule, metagamey aspects, the implementation of reputation within the systems and mechanical passiveness.

    The gadgets look cool, too. Keep up the good work.
     
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  5. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

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    In before Styg annouces Underrail 2 for 2020...
     
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  6. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    I am certainly not a hardcore RPG player, and I am confident VD's design is excellent here, but I'm not sure I've ever played a learn-by-doing RPG that didn't feel more subject to metagaming than AOD. It's a different kind of metagaming, to be sure, and it sounds like VD is going to avoid stuff like skipping as you walk in Daggerfall, but even still, I prefer XP systems by a country mile. The reason is that XP systems, especially AOD's, offer some flexibility in shifting gears as you play, whereas skill-based systems rarely seem to. That's because if you're at a point of the game where you need say "moderate" skill to advance (it can be moderate in any field), and you're only strong in speech skill, then you can't even start advancing those other skills.

    Moreover, you end up siloed in a skill because you know you need to max out skills to do the coolest stuff at the end, and if you can only advance speech by talking, you need to confront every challenge with speech to keep advancing that skill. It's true that this was a problem in AOD, where you tended to pick whichever option you were best at, rather than picking based on which was the route you wanted to go for narrative or RPing or even strategic purposes. But I think skill-growth systems are even worse in this regard: you're pushed into using a skill not just because it's your strongest but because you want to enhance it for future purposes. It turns individual encounters less into questions of how to most effectively solve them and more into questions of how to most effectively grind them in your desired skill field.

    These are largely implementation problems, rather than essential problems, of skill-growth systems. But I've never seen anyone implement their way around it.

    It seems like the AOD problem could largely have been solved simply by requiring you to spend points when your point pool was >= the highest point cost on your charsheet: in other words, you can stockpile in order to advance your best skill, but you can't hoard.
     
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  7. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    I like experimenting and I've always liked 'increase by use' systems (Dungeon Master, Daggerfall, Wizardry 8, Prelude to Darkness, Silent Storm, etc). Many had (or left on purpose) obvious exploits like casting spells all day or jumping or finding an object you can hit like that flint rock in Stonekeep, etc, so it will be very easy to fix these issues. It's the new issues, especially those related to non-combat gameplay that I worry about but hopefully we can fix them as well.

    That's a balance issue, I think, and the party based setup will make it easier as you'd have other people with you. In fact, what you said makes the party dynamics more interesting as it increases your reliance on other people and forces you to accept deals you wouldn't otherwise (i.e. it increases the value of skills as they can't be easily acquired).

    Which will make your party weaker. You fight, everyone get a chance to earn some 'learning points'. You talk, only your speech skills go up. In this game speech will only get you so far and it definitely won't beat the game for you.

    I'd call it role-playing. AoD was designed around the same principle - pick skills that fit your character and stick with them, playing in a manner that fits this character. This design reinforces it.

    Overall, it's the best way to fix meta-gaming (other than dropping all checks) because the moment you make something less accessible, it would drive some people nuts and they would follow a guide with the exact steps to get it and then complain about it. Even if we force players to invest points right away, they would still want to know which exact combination gives them more content and what's the best way to spread points among party members.
     
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  8. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

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    You forgot Dungeon Siege :troll:.

    In all seriousness though I'm not too enthusiastic about this idea and I'm pretty sure there will be plenty of people angry about not being able to choose their skills as freely as in games that have "manual" skill increase. Then again I have faith in Iron Tower team and I do appreciate that you're trying different things and approaches instead of doing the same thing over and over (with a different label). You might consider giving us "classic" approach as an option, similar too what Styg did though. I think it's one of the reasons why UR's popularity is higher than AoD's, if only Oddity was available most likely a huge number of gamers wouldn't even touch this game or they would write negative reviews (Steam threads and posts seem to suggest that). Then again it will be a party based game so it will change everything so maybe I'm worrying needlessly.

    As for crafting, I do hope there will be plenty of options because the same gun in 20 variations doesn't seem that interesting. Also, shields and the like in place of alchemy is a huge decline in my book. I would prefer if alchemy (i.e. chemistry) would remain and shields, cloaking fields would have either a new category (electrical engineering/electronics/physics...) or were put in with crafting (which looks poor for now).
     
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  9. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    Don’t you think this is a design problem? How many players will focus on speech skills if this make the party weaker? You could provide different speech skills for different party members and require dialogue checks for more than one party member. The game would benefit from this. It sounds stupid that the “leader” would do all the talking while the rest stand by mute. Dialogue systems, especially in party-based cRPG, should have more interlocutors.
     
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  10. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    I disagree. I think they should keep experimenting until they hit the G-spot. Otherwise, they will never know what works best. Players only complain about skills and leveling if they don’t feel empowered by the game world. Considering that most players are popamolers, they will complain about the system, with XPs or not. The key word here is challenge, not XPs.

    The classic-oddity thing is just a detail because collecting oddities feels like collecting XPs.
     
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  11. nil Cipher

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    Looking at this, it seems like the optimal way of killing an enemy is to equip my weakest weapon, sneak behind it, backstab it, then kill it as slowly as possible. This way I get points for sneaking, backstabbing, every attack, every hit I take, repairing my weapon, repairing my armor and healing myself. (will fixing combat items use the same skill as non combat repair? I'll only be able to repair the generator if I played in a way where I had to repair a lot of combat items?)

    Assigning enemies a fixed amount of points you can get from them (say a rat can give 50 points max, after which you get nothing from it) could help, but would still end in situations where instead of trying to kill something quickly, you are metagaming the point gain system, or would simply be frustrating (you try to sneak, you manage to make 10 steps, you get all the points, but get detected, so now you have to fight for no reward), and wouldn't solve the healing and repairing.

    I guess that's where limited resources would come in, but that would essentially mean you get rewarded with skill improvements for spending resources (would that mean that the lower my healing ability by the end of the game, the better player I am, because I had to spend less healing resources? And again, if it's the same skill as the one used in non-combat, you are essentially penalized for not taking every opportunity to get damage you can heal).

    Conversations. Won't this system mean you are penalized for being straightforward? Why be honest and simply hand over a package, when lying about it would increase my skills? Why simply say "Ok." when getting into a debate would get you points?


    I'm certain you thought of at least most of these, and possibly already have the solution, but I honestly can't imagine how metagaming with points is worse than this.

    Your plan is to have it all worked out by the end of the year, right?
     
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  12. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    I agree that 'increase by use' skills can be a fairly passive experience, which is why we have feats.

    There will be 3 different types within each class plus different variations (see the concepts posted earlier). So for SMGs for example, you'll have one-handed Uzi-type sprayers, standard two-handed SMG MP5 style, and long barrel SMGs like WW2 stuff, each subclass will have different stats. For shotguns, we'll have one-handed (sawed-off and bushwacker), long barrel rifles, and shorter shotguns with cylinders. Etc.

    Random thoughts on the subject:

    - crafting doesn't really fit the style of this game; you can swap a few parts but you shouldn't be able to build a gun from scratch using schematics
    - whereas in AoD crafting was linear, I'd rather have parts with different stats, so replacing a gun barrel with a longer one would increase the range and accuracy (for example) but increase the cost of a fast shot; installing a scope would increase accuracy at a longer range but lower it in close combat, etc.
    - we might attach skills like Mechanics and Electronics to the higher level upgrades; undecided for now.
    - In AoD crafting improved your weapons and armor (damage and defense), alchemy modified the battlefield conditions. That's what I meant when I said gadgets are the new alchemy: their role is to modify conditions rather than make you more powerful. Simple gadgets won't require any skills but upgrading them will require Mechanics/Electronics.
     
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  13. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    You are assuming that the only options for a player who doesn’t have good speech skills are honest ones, and that any answer using a speech skill is a dishonest one. That is not necessarily the case.
     
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  14. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    For me that's the best part. A talker's party should be different than a shooter's party and have different ways to handle things, less combat oriented, perhaps. Otherwise why even talk to thugs if you can blast them away?

    I'd say that one man doing all the talking is more realistic than everyone's talking at once or the leader taking a break and saying "I'll let Joe comment on this".
     
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  15. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    Not quite like that.

    First, only damage should count not how many times you stabbed him, as that's the most obvious exploit. Second, here is how I'd do it: Let's say enemy X has 40 hit points and gives 100 learning points. Party member 1 hits him for 10 hit points, party member 2 hits him for 20 hit points, party member 3 hits him for 10 hit points and kills him. Party member 1 did 25% of damage, so he earns 25 points. Party member 2 earns 50 points. Party member 3 earns 25 points for damage plus 10 extra points for killing. I'm sure some overly obsessive players will try to steal kills for that sweat 10% bonus but I can leave with that.

    Second, if combat is challenging, you won't have time to fuck around and kill someone slowly because it increases your chance to die fast.

    Sneaking is fair game but if you fail, you'll be at a significant disadvantage. Nothing save and reload won't fix but if someone has extra time... Backstabbing and repairing aren't skills. Healing will require supplies, but that's not all the skill will do.

    I don't think we'll have situations where you deliver packages. I know what you mean, but if you look at the AoD design it's not really an issue.

    Yes.
     
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  16. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

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    But chemistry doesn't have to be about making you more powerful.
    Taking what Kos_Koa said as an example:

    Chemistry (or physics in general) could help our crew to deal with these problematic locations. Faulty life support system? Thermodynamics and fluid mechanics to the rescue. Dealing with misty green abyss or a murky water could be dealt with by modifying a refractive index (e.g. by adding something to the water or using a polarizing filter). Dealing with poisonous gases could be dealt with by creating a gas mask using an activated charcoal filter. Etc.
     
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  17. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    There's only so much a small team can do.
     
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  18. Kos_Koa Iron Tower Studio Developer

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    Personally I think it depends. A tense situation between two groups would obviously have a leader speaking for them, but I think a nuanced approach would be ideal. For example, your party happens across an unknown group, the moment is obviously tense for both sides, but your companion (based on their background) notices a familiar insignia or tattoo on one of the opposing group members, and chimes in on it. It happens that your companion's father was part of the same group, but the group has since dissolved. The other guy didn't know who the father was (it was before his time), but it's enough of an icebreaker to make the confrontation go a little smoother. Obviously, you can continue talking your way passed the group, with an easier skill threshold, or use the relative ease of the moment to attack, giving your party a bonus to initiative.

    And it should go both ways, where companions can chime in and make the situation worse, increasing the skill threshold for talkers, and giving the opposing team a bonus to initiative for combat. Assuming your party survives the experience, it could create an interesting inter-party moment where you (or another member) chew out the companion for opening their big mouth, which depending on how you handle it, changes your group's attitude towards each other, for better or for worse.

    Plus in moments like this, you party members could have a chance to improve their own speech skills, somewhat outside your PC's direct control.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
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  19. nil Cipher

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    Do you know what you might do about combat actions that are not primarily damage dealers, yet? (And enemy healing, if it will be possible.)

    And if combat is difficult, then isn't that all the more reason for me to milk the more manageable fights for all the points I can? I'm worried about situations where instead of simply executing the last enemy with an elegant headshot, I break his leg, his arms, shove him to the ground, yell to intimidate him, etc...

    I can't imagine you keeping this system unless it works well, so I'm not actually worried, just thought I'd share a few initial thoughts.
     
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  20. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    No healing in combat. Non-combat actions in combat will simply contribute toward beating the fight and thus serve a purpose.

    Like I said, hit him once or hit him ten times, the reward is the same (i.e. you get XP matching damage dealt and that's it).
     
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  21. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    But in most real life cases we don’t have a leader that need to make a break in order to pass the word. Instead, other people just jump in the conversation. Just consider a group presentation. The main guy who is supposed to ace the subject is making a fool of himself, and, consequently, of the rest of the group. What happens in these cases? Someone will jump in to proceed with the presentation and control the damage. While in cRPGs, the player will do all the talking, while other NPCs stand and wait for him to fail. That is bullshit. Imagine this, some NPC is for that very same organization you want to infiltrate. The guard doesn’t let you in. It sounds silly that the NPC wouldn’t try to use his background as a trump card to convince the guard.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
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  22. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    In fact, consider the very way you try to convince your audience of some game design idea. In most cases, you will present some arguments, then Oscar or another member of ITS will post more arguments, etc. That is how these things work in a real world conversation with a group of people trying to convince someone of a given idea.
     
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  23. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    This!
     
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  24. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

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    @Kos_Koa
    That would be interesting but the question is how much more work it would mean for VD. And in your example I don't see how a son of a member of some organization could change much, especially if that father would be unknown to adversaries (and if he was known it would be too convenient for my taste). Companions making the situation worse is more likely but then again why would I travel with someone who couldn't follow my lead and would be more trouble than he was worth? In other words it complicates things significantly. If implemented correctly it could be great but if it would mean that the date would go from 2020 to 2025 then no, thank you.
     
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  25. Kos_Koa Iron Tower Studio Developer

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    Likely a lot more work, but if we're to make RPG Codex's GOTY 2020, we need to crack the whip.

    Keep in mind, the example was about two armed groups bumping into each other in some dark corner of the ship. It's not necessarily about getting something or taking something, it's just an unknown and sudden meeting. Each side is apprehensive, so a simple nod at something that both sides have in common (like recognizing a symbol of a now defunct organization) might just be enough to lessen the tension a bit.

    I imagine it would be a balancing act, a mix of usefulness and danger. As a player you weigh the pros and cons and you make the appropriate decision, which I think leads to fun narrative moments as well as interesting game play. Keep in mind AoD did it in some aspect, like making NPCs dictate the desired outcome of an event somewhat outside of the player's control. So to follow the example, imagine having a "Miltiades" as a controllable party member, and you'll kind of get what I'm suggesting. You can either walk away, "cut his lying throat", or ride that crazy stallion to the top!

    Let's not kid ourselves, this game is coming out in 2025 and everyone knows it.
     
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