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  1. #61
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    This may be an impopular solution, but why couldn't we couple a system where you get all the XP/money from completing a task with a time incentive?

    Like, the quest giver sets you a time when he'd like the quest complete, and if you complete it in around exactly that time, you get full XP/money, if you complete it slower, you get half XP/money, and if you complete it much faster you get twice the XP/money.

    It does make real life sense really. If someone asks you to go do the groceries for tonight's dinner, they wouldn't exactly be happy if you only show up again 3 days later - even if you did bring them the groceries.

    And if it nets you more XP/money than looting the hell out of the castle the princess is in, perhaps you would stay on task more.

    I also agree with Wisq's ideas of making items in containers less valuable. I also agree with the general maxim of smaller inventories. I stopped picking up onions and leeks in Oblivion quite quickly.

    Perhaps we could also make shopkeepers more choosey? Your local blacksmith would have little use for your 20 rusty swords and helmets except as scrap to melt down. More likely, he wouldn't pay you anything for them. It's weird how NPC shopkeepers have so much money to buy stuff you've picked up off the ground! And wouldn't someone start asking questions if you turn up with 20 rusty, bloodstained helmets?



    And on skill learning through use - There is some good evidence that you only consolidate what you've 'learned' after you have slept. I do believe the same is true to an extent for muscle growth.

    So a system where you only got the skill points after finishing the task at hand would be more realistic than one where you automatically got XP for punching a wall. If you assume that after completing your quest, your character has a bit of a rest or lie in.

  2. #62
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    The loot systems tend to bother me a lot in RPGs and the like. I find myself often going through every nook and cranny of the gameworld hoarding pieces of twine and common garden herbs just in case I need to use them for a quest or perhaps for crafting something fancy and useful. Except that at the end of the game I still find 200 pieces of twine and a boatload of basically worthless herbs in my inventory because the crafting opportunity I was waiting for never actually presented itself (yes, I indeed hated the looting mechanisms of Witcher 2). And that I wasted possibly even more time balancing my inventory just to be able to fit all that crap in there somewhere. On the other hand if I don't spend half my game time foraging for the bits and pieces one finds from ditches and random garbage heaps, I feel that I might have missed something and that I could possibly have found a recipe for a superior armor from that waste basket I decided to leave unchecked.

    Feeling torn between these two potential disappointments I usually just go for the safe route of hoarding and sometimes even end up never actually finishing the game because of all the inventory micro-management sapping my will to fire up that particular RPG ever again.

    Since nothing feels more like a betrayal than defeating a boss with two shining katanas only to find a piece of bubble gum on his corpse aftewards, I've come to the conclusion that game devs should still fill the world with items, but also give the player the opportunity to actually use their crafting skills to dismantle the items they deem useless to their basic components. This has been done and I've found that a somewhat pleasing solution to my hoarding issues. If you need to forge a blade of pig iron, you can count on your crafting ability (that you've invested in for this very possibility) to actually get you the iron you need from a couple of basic swords you get by slaying the hopeless bandits that every now and then mistake you for an easy target. No need to go foraging for pristine iron bars or travel back 200 leagues to get to the only vendor you know that carries crafting ingredients. Nice and simple. Sure there's still a million items that you have to discard along your travels, but at least you're somewhat safe in the knowledge that most ingredients are close at hand if the recipe of your dreams would happen to surface.

    I'd also like to see some actual consequences for you stealing the very last items from the hands of the poor and blighted. If you decide to steal the old hunting rifle hanging on the wall of an old couple's small cottage and manage to sneak it out, it'd be a solid piece of game design to later find the poor couple slaughtered by bandits or some such thing on the account of you stealing their only form of defense. Or something like that.

  3. #63
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    I think simply making every item useful in some way would be a good start. Fallout 3 did this with some of its junk items (and FWE made almost everything potentially useful, if only because someone would be willing to barter for it), and Deus Ex kind of did by allowing you to chuck things around as a diversion (although did anyone ever actually bother?). I suppose a dynamic economy could help, too - sure, plates are cheap at the start, but let's say a lot of traders get killed or a pottery town is under siege or something. Suddenly they're worth hanging on to even alongside your Fiery Sword of Cold Caller Slaying.

  4. #64
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    @Lamb: Thanks for bringing Blood Money to the table. You're right, the focus on the objective the game imposes is great. But It does have the advantage of not granting any XP and not giving you anything really useful (outside of some weapons or info that doesn't really change how you play the game) if you explore. In the Hitman games, exploring is only done to see how can you approach the job. Seeing alternate routes or traps you can set up. And it's great. One should have to see how to merge that behaviour with a games more open like RPGs.

  5. #65
    Activated Node Wisq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Binho View Post
    Perhaps we could also make shopkeepers more choosey? Your local blacksmith would have little use for your 20 rusty swords and helmets except as scrap to melt down. More likely, he wouldn't pay you anything for them.
    Yeah, shopkeepers in RPGs are a whole can of worms of their own. Some games have them effectively transmuting the crap you sell them into potentially unlimited money for you, and/or transmuting the money you give them into potentially unlimited amounts of useful items to sell. Other games put limits on their money and/or have them hold onto and resell the items you give them, but with no concern for economics and how much similar stuff they have.

    It would be interesting to see someone do a realistic shopkeeper, where items you sell them are periodically purchased by other buyers, and inventory is perodically restocked by suppliers with actual cost & demand economics. The more items of a particular variety you sell them, the less they'll pay, with the drop-off rate influenced by how fast they expect to be able to sell that item.

    For example, healing potions everyone loves them, and assuming the merchant doesn't already get a lot of them from a supplier, you could easily be the supplier and make a tidy profit by selling and then waiting for others to buy them.

    Rusty blood-covered armour from some skeleton in a cave or something ... well, the game would look at the item's desirability (very low) and say, "okay, I'll take one or two of those, but at a pretty crap price, and I don't want a dozen (unless you're giving them away for free and I have a ton of storage space)". On the other hand, if there's a local guy who melts these things down and makes better items, maybe the price is low lower than what melter-down guy would pay for it but the merchant is willing to buy a bunch of them at a time.

    Or maybe you are the one melting things down and making better items to sell back to the merchant, and if you do that enough, he'll start stocking more of those "useless" items because he knows you like to buy them.

    Real economics. Wonder how hard it would be to code?

  6. #66
    Lesser Hivemind Node TillEulenspiegel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wisq View Post
    Real economics. Wonder how hard it would be to code?
    Not terribly. Take the agent-based simulation mechanics from an economic sim like Patrician II and stick 'em in an RPG. This sort of stuff is extremely fun to write and fiddle with.

    The tricky bit is making it fun for the player. Gotta teach them not to pick up every rusty dagger they come across, for a start. Oh, and balancing the system so it doesn't blow up over time.

  7. #67
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
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    Another thing that I think would be just AMAZING (by virtue of being both fascinating and hilarious) would be any game that contains an inventory that makes you look and act like you're carrying whatever you're carrying. You can collect as much stuff as you want, every rusty dagger that you see, but in the game you will see exactly this:

    http://awkwardzombie.com/index.php?page=0&comic=081511

    I would play that simply to see what is the funniest things to try to carry during combat.

    Imagine if your backpack held most of your stuff but you had to drop it quick if you got into a rough fight...or I suppose continue to wear it to prevent backstabs :P. Maybe have a few special pockets and straps to hold items that need to be readily available (so the quick-bar would really be a quicker bar)...but the rest of your stuff you have to rummage around to find. I don't really care to have manual rummaging, that could be annoying ;) but I do think that carrying 65 rusty knives or 70 ceramic bowls should probably influence your character.

    Having your inventory affect you in this way would go a long way towards making a player's looting and pillaging behavior be less bizarre, I think. (As you see him waddling along with oddly shaped bulges poking out from beneath his coat and pants pockets, and a sausage-string of ammo boxes slung over his shoulders, spinning and spilling as he wrestles a bear).

    Edit: carrying too many healing potions could result in their breaking and spilling all over both you and your enemy...needlessly prolonging the fight. Eh, maybe that's a bit extreme. =P
    Last edited by Berzee; 26-08-2011 at 07:51 PM.

  8. #68
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    The Gold Box games did that back in 1988. The weight you carry has an affect on your combat ability by restricting movement.

  9. #69
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardry View Post
    The Gold Box games did that back in 1988.
    Yeah, I've seen other games slow you down when you carry stuff (not many that give you combat penalties though, so that's a nice thing). But I am talking about more than that...I'm talkin'....Katamari Damacy, but with a backpack. So that, even more than the penalties, players will be dissuaded form hoarding by the pure visual ridiculousness of it (or maybe that'll be an encouragement...but you can RP with your inventory it instead of just min-maxing it, then ;).

  10. #70
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    Yeah, lots of games have some sort of penalty for carrying too much, but it's often easy to bypass and/or still very forgiving, or just doesn't add up visually.

    I've actually been playing a modded fallout 3 game (here) with an extremely limited inventory to simulate something like this - without buying a (very expensive) backpack, I'll be lucky if I can carry three weapons and enough supplies to last a few days. Bit early to say how it'll affect things, and obviously the game isn't built with that in mind so it may not add up. But it certainly makes a difference.

  11. #71
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinister agent View Post
    without buying a (very expensive) backpack
    But that's a pretty funny thing itself, because -- I don't care how post-apocalyptic your world is, it's still pretty cheap to make a bag. =P

  12. #72
    Lesser Hivemind Node TillEulenspiegel's Avatar
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    Well if you want to carry more weight with a backpack, you gotta make a frame too, which should probably be made out of metal if you want it to last.

  13. #73
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berzee View Post
    But that's a pretty funny thing itself, because -- I don't care how post-apocalyptic your world is, it's still pretty cheap to make a bag. =P
    Oh yeah, it's just to make it actually mean something though, otherwise I might as well just start the game with it. There are a series of them though, some really cheap with less capacity, so it's not too hard to roll with it.

    As for reinforcing it, well that's just silly. A normal backpack will allow you to carry more stuff. That's why they exist. You can't just shove twenty medkits down your trousers.

    Edit: Sorry, I'm being a div there. You're right of course, in that a reinforced one would be more useful.
    Last edited by sinister agent; 26-08-2011 at 10:42 PM.

  14. #74
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinister agent View Post
    Oh yeah, it's just to make it actually mean something though, otherwise I might as well just start the game with it.
    Similar to the Zelda games, where a glass bottle is worth more than, like, a house.

  15. #75
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berzee View Post
    Similar to the Zelda games, where a glass bottle is worth more than, like, a house.
    Which is essentially what they are used for!

  16. #76
    Activated Node Wisq's Avatar
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    The Oblivion mod "Realistic Fatigue" has something like that. It actually increases your base carry capacity, with the caveat that carrying even a moderate amount of stuff (compared to your max) will a) increase your fatigue burn rate while moving (which is already much higher than base), and b) reduce your max fatigue.

    So you're strongly encouraged to put your cargo in a sack of some sort, either because the sack gives you a carry bonus, or just so you can drop it when combat starts.

    It really helps answer "do I really want to pick this up?" (usually "no"), especially if you're not riding a horse.

    I think a more base problem is, why is there so much good stuff lying around? Surely, so long as someone has been to the place before you, the only stuff that's going to be left is either easy to miss, hard to retrieve (difficult locks etc.), or not worth picking up. (Unless it's only worth something to you.)
    Last edited by Wisq; 27-08-2011 at 12:41 AM.

  17. #77
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    The problem I have with that is I never liked morrobliv's fatigue system (even leaving aside its stupid backwardness of having more fatigue be a good thing), so I tended to steer clear of anything that made it even more annoying. It's certainly a solution though, and sounds perfectly sensible.

    I agree with the 'so much stuff' thing, as happens in a fair few games. It's particularly silly when you see abject poverty all around you, even though you can quite literally walk into any cave and punch some squirrels and beetles in the face to make more money in ten minutes than a farmer makes in a year. It doesn't (usually) ruin the game or anything, but it does seem like there must be another way.

    I'd like to see more games where you stumble across someone else doing what you are. System Shock 2 did a pretty good job of making it clear that other people managed to fight back (or each other), and some of them where even running around scheming while you were. Okay, you never really interacted with them in any meaningful way, but within its narrative, that worked and made sense.

    Other games have done similar things, although I can't think of any that did them convincingly, let alone let them be a completely independent entity, separate but parallel to your actions. That'd be neat.

    I suppose you could count games like Privateer or X, or the Patrician, but they all still seemd like normal NPCs rather than a sort of AI rival. I may be asking too much to expect the latter, but it'd be good to see something like the Patrician's rival traders appear in an open-world (or close to it) RPG, or even a shooter. How neat would it have been in Half-life to come across another scientist with an assault rifle fighting off a couple of marines?

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinister agent View Post
    I'd like to see more games where you stumble across someone else doing what you are. System Shock 2 did a pretty good job of making it clear that other people managed to fight back (or each other), and some of them where even running around scheming while you were. Okay, you never really interacted with them in any meaningful way, but within its narrative, that worked and made sense.

    Other games have done similar things, although I can't think of any that did them convincingly, let alone let them be a completely independent entity, separate but parallel to your actions. That'd be neat.
    Wizardry VII? It features roaming adventuring parties that can fight each other and take quest items before you do. Quest items can change hands, even being sold to merchants and the like. None of it is really scripted. If you go looking for a quest item at a certain location and it isn't there, you'll have to hunt down the group that got there first. They could even have been killed by a further party and you'll have to hunt them down instead. It's all pretty awesome and dynamic. I can't think of any RPG that has done it since.

    The cool thing about the game is that it features multiple factions and diplomacy. You can turn a hostile group into a peaceful one or vice versa. You can even exchange what your party has learnt about the game world with what opposition groups have learnt about the game world. If developers didn't turn the RPG genre into shitty dating sims or action games then we'd have had pretty awesome RPGs in 2011. As it turns out, what we have today is far more primitive than an old game made in 1992.
    Last edited by Wizardry; 27-08-2011 at 01:27 AM.

  19. #79
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    All of that sounds excellent, indeed. Where's the indie bunch trying a modern version of that? Let us summon them.

  20. #80
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Limited inventory and carrying capacity led to some interesting decisions on my part when playing Stalker. I was always conscious of what weapon I was using as a primary and whether or not I could find ammo for it in my current area. This made the RPG-7 and sole rocket I found for it for it a heavy burden that I carried all around the zone, only to finally rejoice when I came across an APC near the end of the game and have that sacrifice justified.

    I also stopped carrying food (except for one or two emergency items); instead I would crouch over the corpses of my fallen enemies and eat sausages right from their pockets as I found them - exactly what I imagine would happen in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

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