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Space Wreck: 1-hour hardcore RPG

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by Kamaz, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. Kyl Von Kull Arcane Patron

    Kyl Von Kull
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    Location:
    The Motherfucking Stolen Lands
    Maybe something like this:

    In the 22nd century, humanity has spread across the solar system...
    ...we brought capitalism with us.
    As asteroid miners organize, labor disputes escalate into violence, and violence spirals into anarchy.

    You are a rookie captain on your first voyage through space...
    ...things are not going well
    Your crew has little respect for your authority
    When your ship is attacked by pirates a stray ion torpedo damages its fuel controller chip
    Somehow you manage to drift to a nearby spacewreck to search for a replacement

    Exploring the wreck will be dangerous, perhaps lethal
    When no one volunteers, the crew proposes drawing straws
    Desperate to earn their respect, you agree to participate
    You draw the short straw.
    It may be the last mistake you ever make...
     
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  2. mustawd. Arcane

    mustawd.
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    Yah those changes are aight. I mean I didn't wanna rewrite the whole thing, so I tried keeping structural changes minimal.
     
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  3. Kamaz Liturgist

    Kamaz
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    For me it is tough to say - I've wrote all the check's, too involved.
    However, design wise I tried to create game in such way that if there are 0-25 levels of speech, than it means there are 25 skill cheks for speech somewhere in the game. As consequence, I feel there is balanced choice of easy checks and tough ones as well. Below 5 is usually more cosmetic stuff. Max - 25 - is reserved for some hardcore shit e.g.
    Show Spoiler
    Convincing somebody else to go to the pirate ship to parley in your place
    .
    Similar is with lock pick skill - there is a door you can pick with very low level lockpick.
    Though, must say that it is not like this for all of the skills, because speech works only in dialogs and it made sense to make sure it is covered as good as possible. Still trying to balance out low value checks and tough checks.

    I have tried to balance it so that you cannot excel at everything, at least in early levels. But you could be average accross the board and it should be viable enough.

    Unfortunately no. I might have to write some up. I was shifting stuff around just before "launch".

    No, I've got a bit of Elm, so I got plenty of compilation errors. :) But browser platform is because:
    • I am frontend developer at day, so it is familiar
    • short feedback loop - you find a bug, I fix it, push it, its up in 2 mins
    • no hassle trying it out - click the link and play
    But, as requested, I am planning to release a downloadable version. Heck, technically I can do even mobile with this code base.

    Thanks! I do realize this is amateurish and a bit miserable. As I said in opening post, turns out making RPG is not easy. Especially if you are a one-person-team. I guess it helps if there is somebody to bounce off ideas or test quests/dialogs. That's why I am so glad there are more than 2 comments in this thread and some valuable stuff.

    As for the bugs, yeah, not enough play testing. I've noted them down and will work on them soon. e.g. that one case of being stuck in space should be solved.

    The game has a lot of deterministic stuff, more than I initially was planning. Mostly I dropped rolls from e.g. dialogs, lock picking because I felt there is no point if you can try again and it just frustrates you.

    However, I use dice rolls in sneak detection because that uncertainty adds to the suspense, I think. And so rolls are used mostly in combat hit/evade stuff where, I think, it adds to the slightly random nature of fight. And because I wanted to see this "d6-with-points" system implemented.

    Wow. This is very generous offer! I think though, I'll wait a bit, maybe codex will suggested some cool alterations to quests and once it is more stable, I'll take you up on that offer

    Glad I did. Thank you guys!

    YES
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
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  4. AdolfSatan Educated

    AdolfSatan
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    I feel like the quest design is very poor, it's all too straight-forward. Also, I hate talking about ballinse, but the truth is that min-maxing any of the quest-defining attributes makes the game instantly beatable by a newly created character with no need for progression whatsoever.
     
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  5. Kamaz Liturgist

    Kamaz
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    This is a criticism I have heard from other players as well. I think this stems from the idea that you have to be able to complete game with any combination of stats/skills right from the start without levelups. I guess, having lots of ways to solve the quest based on your skills kind of backfires in this case. TBH I did not expect this when designing the game.

    What I was hoping for is that your character build would close some options but open others and you have to find the way to work around limitations by playing to your char strengths.

    In retrospect, possibly I have too soft skill checks. Maybe making them harder would close off more solutions and force players to look for different ways.

    ---

    As for progression part, this is very short game and it is mostly about how your character build can complete the main quest not about how you can develop your character. Also, personally, I have never been big fan of late game in most RPGs (Fallouts are no exception, unfortunately) when you are all too powerful so its getting boring.

    --

    And yes, quests are straight forward and as simple as it gets because that was easier to allow for multiple solutions. Get the fuel chip, its simple single task. How? Well, there are tons of ways to do it.


    Thanks for bringing this up, I was thinking about how to make the design better for this small game and scope, so actual player's reasonings and impressions are very valuable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
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  6. AdolfSatan Educated

    AdolfSatan
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    I'm with you about overpowered late game. I'd actually like to see a FO in which there's simply no power armor, laser weapons, or car for you to get. You just have to make do with what you got at hand up to the very end.

    I don't know if making the skill-checks harder is what will do it. Perhaps actually closing some paths. Being a smooth talker doesn't necessarily mean you can talk your way out of everything. Or perhaps you can solve a situation by talking, but not in such a straight-forward manner.
    For example, asking Lady B to beat the shit out of someone after you get her her slugger —provided you can convince her— would be nice. I don't actually know if this was possible though, because her quest bugged out after I got her the bat and she kept asking me for it.

    And that's my gripe with the quest design. They feel pedestrian in that the way to solve is immediately obvious with relation to the character's build, and there's like zero reactivity or connection between each other. The moment a quest is closed, that's it, there's no further impact stemming from it. I know this is a short game, but that is precisely why such a feature shouldn't be missing.
     
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  7. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    I think the game has a problem -- very common in skill-gated dialogue quest RPGs, and to some extent present even in my beloved AOD -- that dialogues turn into:

    . /----A----\
    You---B----Goal
    . \-----C----/

    Where the choice between A/B/C turns solely on whether you maxed skill A, B, or C, since they all lead to more or less the same place. IMO, Arcanum did one of the better jobs (perhaps the best jobs) of making skills tools that could be used to get you to your goal, but some obstacles only respond to certain tools, and in any event, A, B, C aren't labeled Skill A, Skill B, Skill C, but instead Option A, Option B, Option C, such that it is not immediately obvious which to pursue.
     
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  8. Kamaz Liturgist

    Kamaz
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    Good idea, actually. Thanks!

    I see what you mean - you just choose a dialog option and that's it. For some it is probably true, but there are additional aspects -
    • many quests have varying outcomes in form of endings (e.g. the way you solve the quest changes the post-game situation)
    • some quests may seem they are just pass-a-skill check, but in fact have hidden aspects e.g.
      Show Spoiler
      elevator quest, "Proper segregation", can be worked around - you don't have to complete the quest to get downstairs - the skill check just allows you to bypass the locked door but does not solve the underlying issue. And the melee intervention is easy to pass, but carries negative consequences after game.

    OK, so, don't use
    but have it disguised and caption adjusted to not be exactly "CLICK THIS TO SOLVE QUEST" ?
     
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  9. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Well, there are different ways ways to do it. IIRC, Arcanum did not show the skills being used, and did not put Best Option at the top, so the player was expected to read through the full list of options, think about which approach would be most likely to succeed with the PC's skillset and the NPC's needs and susceptibilities, and then pick that option. So, for example, if you meet a big dumb troll who wants you to pay him to let you cross his bridge, even if your Intimidate skill is greater than your Trickery or Negotiation skills, it is quite likely that the latter options are more likely to succeed (since intimidating a big troll is tough, while tricking a dumb troll is not).

    Also, IIRC (my memory is terrible), Arcanum would offer more than one way to use the same skill against the same NPC, like, "Persuade him to go left." "Persuade him to go right."

    Finally, as noted, you can put the skills that get you where you need to get in different spots, so that it's not like:

    Troll: Pay me a toll.
    1. [Intimidate] Fear me!
    2. [Trickery] Listen to my dumb trick.
    3. [Persuasion] I bet you could make more money building bridges than collecting tolls.
    4. [Tech] Honestly, if you keep standing on that bridge, it's going to give way beneath you.

    If you do that, the player will simply pursue whichever of those is most likely to win, and it feels pointless. But if you instead put the Tech check into an interaction with the bridge, the Trickery trick into another character ("Hey, merchant, you should go talk to that troll, he's looking for work as a bodyguard!"), etc. then at least you've split up the options.

    The main thing is just if you have a fork where all roads lead to the same place, and each road has a different lock but the player is nearly certain to have one of the keys, you really aren't differentiating the builds or offering roleplaying opportunities.
     
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  10. lukaszek the determinator

    lukaszek
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    i think you made a valid point about skill difficulty but focus instead on presentation of them in dialogue.
    Let me do the opposite then :happytrollboy:

    it doesnt matter how you present skill checks, whether they are visible: [tagged] or not.
    Whats more I dont think it matters if you include difficulty [20 tag if full moon].
    Personally I prefer [tags] with hidden difficulty. Yes, I am choosing my [tag] without thinking. Yes, I might not read rest options or even fully read one im choosing.
    I am not doing it because it was clearly telegraphed to me which option my 1 trick pony build should chose.

    Problem is how most games treat skills difficulty. They are equal and stateless. In most games if you have 4 options, 2 of them tagged, you can bet that their values will be similar. Troll is dumb? sure, that would be -2 intimidate and +2 trickery, which probably wont matter with bloated numbers anyway. Devs dont actually give you c&c in here, but give you illusion of your PC solving problems according to its char sheet.
    You are not encouraged to explore your options as it doesnt matter.
    It would have been different if you could have a state machine, like easy trickery check makes next negotiation attempt easier and actually passable, while starting with negotiation wouldnt work. Or you know... actually tagging options that are not winnable. Example can be in witcher3 where you are given option to use axii sign on witchhunter. As result you dont automatically chose axii option but have to read its lore and understand when its likely to work.

    Obviously having out of dialogue skills alter it is cool, like shapeshifting into dragon and then intimidating troll. I dont find it the issue why skill checks arent cool though.
     
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  11. Kamaz Liturgist

    Kamaz
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    What I don't like about format

    [Skill] Option...

    is that you have only trial/error method to determine is your skill good enough to try. Let's say, this is melee skill and I want to subdue the guy. Failure will result in serious confrontation or even combat and I have no way of knowing can I do it or not. If presented with

    [Skill 30/50] Subdue...

    it is clear that my character build allows for this option. There is no frustration and I can see I might have to invest more skill points into this skill if I want to pursue this way of solving problems in future.

    Other than that, suggestions worth to explore. I am considering dropping tags altogether and just showing/hiding additional dialog options and not all of them being successful. Cases like "try subdue" should be succesful, but likes of trying to talk around/convince somebody should be based on actual argument presented in dialog option. Its the case of perfect information to make a fair guess.

    I will not alter SpaceWreck, though, I think, because its too big of a change, but will consider this for future. Thank you!

    However, I think I can drop some speech straight-to-win options maybe in SW. Maybe it'll improve gameplay, let's see.
     
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  12. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    You might only show the options where the threshold is met.
     
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  13. Kamaz Liturgist

    Kamaz
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    Yup. Though, I think its like that:
    • most non-speech skill checks (melee, tech, etc.) that demonstrate your character's expertise virtually, should always succeed if available. Because it is presumed your character knows it can subdue person, knows the how the tech works etc. even if you as a player don't and it would not be fair for game to ask you to guess, without any additional info, to decide whether your melee is high enough or not for action to succeed
    • speech, though, could be different - since it is used only in dialogues, it would make sense to turn these speech-y options into gameplay, as in, you have to make educated guess to pick the right option. A bit like a puzzle, based on character/situation you are in. Important thing though - you always ought to have perfect information based on dialogue options, otherwise this not fair and becomes frustratin
    No idea, how viable it actually is if you try to implement it though:)
     
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  14. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    Is the thing when using the first elevator everyone gets knocked down and and the screen shows only stars intentional or a bug?
     
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  15. Kamaz Liturgist

    Kamaz
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    Wow! WTF?! :D It IS a bug, but I have no clue how did you get it...


    I just updated the quest with your suggestion + additional favor you can ask her. It's like King's favor in NewVegas - you can choose one of them.

    T
    Concerning this and further discussion about skill checks - I've modified one existing quest in "Space Wreck" trying to improve it according to ideas from discussion (I think). Below, in the spoiler I have analyzed one quest from the game, the elevator quest and possible ways to solve it.

    Show Spoiler

    Janis Kaposts is tech millionaire who, afraid of second class passengers from lower deck, has hacked the elevator to limit the access. For you as a player (PC) this is challenge because you need to get downstairs, to the shuttle but elevator is locked.

    • First solution is very simple - pick the lock. It is slightly above average difficulty.
    • Another solution is to program keycard to access the lift, this can be done through any of Bulta's terminals with adequate scitec skill. PC has to think of using computer to solve this problem, its not nearby and there are no direct clues, so gameplay is figuring that out on your own. Skill check is just gated roleplaying that favors techy build
    • You can also pickpocket the guy, if you have high enough SNEAK skill, again over the average. This, I guess, is natural response, if you have invested in this skill
    • You can kill the guy, of course, but this will trigger panic across all faction, so highly ineffective
    • If you explore ship a bit more, you'll find couple of people standing near kitchen door. Turns out, the kitchen is locked too and normal kitchen keycard does not work. PC could notice the pattern and draw correlation between kitchen door and elevator. PC then can a) go confront Kaposts where new dialog option will be available; b) suggest one of the other passengers, standing near kitchen door, to confront him instead of you. This will end in open kitchen door and maybe also unlocked elevator (if you confront). No skil lchecks here, gameplay is exploring and drawing conclusions, correlating issues.
    • You can also talk with Kaposts, he'll be angry. With high enough melee, quick shot to the jaw will knock him out and give you his keycard, solving the problem. However, this will result in trial after these events which you'll lose. Also, this will lock you out of option asking for his money later in the game where it'll be important.
    • OK, don't punch the guy. You can, instead, pretend to understand him, if you pass below average SPEECH check. This is easy, but here's the catch - this will not solve the quest, it'll just turn him more friendly towards you and you'll be able to just ask to use elevator. The way to solve this after skill check, is to get an item - Out of order sign - that'll trigger the quest completion and this path is available only if you have passed the skill check, but its not enough anyways. Also, being friendly with him will make it easier for you to ask for money later
    • There's another way - nearby Kaposts there is a lady, Lady B. If you talk to her, you'll learn she is rightous and slightly insane lawyer. She asks you for a favor and if you fulfill it, she'll owe you a favor instead. One of those favors - if you've talked with Kaposts - is to solve this situation. She'll use her skills as lawyer and convince the guy to unlock the door. This is completely skill-check-less solution but requires some work and you have to spend a favor.
    These are most of solutions, there might be more, I don't remember at this moment. An, btw, you can get downstairs if you ask the guy (easy skill check), but it'll not solve the quest. It's just means for player to bypass the blocking quest if he/she does not want to tackle it. Also, last thing, lift is not the only way to get downstairs, if you explore the level you'll find another way, again, allowing to bypass blocking quest.

     
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  16. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    I tried to play game 4 times and each time I tried it happened. No matter if I have tried to use elevator through dialogue or through clicking on doors it always happened.
     
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  17. LubomiRTard Literate

    LubomiRTard
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    Ahoj, had a Hungarian woman once. Taught me some stuff I can only recall throughout a good Czech beer only. Try me.

    Game appears promising, grammar is not problem for me beause i'm ESL too. :D
     
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  18. Kamaz Liturgist

    Kamaz
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    Oh, missed the whole ESL thing! Indeed, I am ESL, but from Northern Europe - tiny Baltic country Latvia.
     
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  19. Wayward Son Fails to keep valuable team members alive

    Wayward Son
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    Ah ok. Your name was reminiscent of Hungarian names so I was confused. Great game btw, I've played a bit of it
     
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  20. Kamaz Liturgist

    Kamaz
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    Thanks! Currently working on stand alone downloadable version as requested.
     
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  21. Kamaz Liturgist

    Kamaz
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    A player documented his playthrough in kind of lets-play video:

    Warning: obviously contains spoilers!
     
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  22. Kamaz Liturgist

    Kamaz
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    Decided to improve interaction and looting UI. Now you see tooltip on hovering over interactable objects (reduces pixel hunting and helps with less clear visual assets). And, if you hover over container (box, lockers etc.) it'll show its contents so you don't have to open it with slate exchange dialog if you just want to see what is inside. This works only for unlocked nearby containers (5 tiles radius). Ah, and if container has key, tooltip shows appropriate symbol.

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. Kamaz Liturgist

    Kamaz
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    Long time no updates.
    Progress is slow still but here's something simple I can share - I added voice over to intro. To see it in action, just start new game here:
    https://kamazs.itch.io/space-wreck

    The narrator is BrendanielReads

    Additionally I overhauled the main interface element - screen slate (iPad-like thing), removed the BIG RED BUTTON (which nobody really noticed) and now you can close it in various ways:
    1) clicking outside
    2) clicking X on right top corner
    3) clicking CONFIRM button where applicable

    I still have changes planned, e.g. I might ditch most of the non-speech checks from dialogs.
     
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  24. Kamaz Liturgist

    Kamaz
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    For convenience, intro montage with narration V/O
     
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  25. Lord of the Files Literate

    Lord of the Files
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    I haven't had a chance to try the game yet, but how are you liking Meta2D? Can you use Typescript with it?
     
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