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  1. #20061
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldvvvave View Post
    Dice rolls?
    These exist in practically every non-action RPG in existence, and with good reason. What do you replace them with? I don't see how you can make a plausible simulation with determinism.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  2. #20062
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    These exist in practically every non-action RPG in existence, and with good reason. What do you replace them with? I don't see how you can make a plausible simulation with determinism.
    what rpg games don't have a dice rolll?

    ME3 has them so does Witcher 2. Fallout 1-3, NV as well, Morrowind. No idea about Oblivion and Skyrim. Bloodlines, KOTOR, Arcanum have them...

    DE:HR might not have. Hard to tell.

  3. #20063
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    what rpg games don't have a dice rolll?

    ME3 has them so does Witcher 2. Fallout 1-3, NV as well, Morrowind. No idea about Oblivion and Skyrim. Bloodlines, KOTOR, Arcanum have them...

    DE:HR might not have. Hard to tell.
    I think the point is more explicit dice rolls/RNG.

    But the most popular RPGs of the past few years have mostly minimized them to the point of serving only for critical success/failure and dialogue/skill checks. The rest is all "player skill" and the like.
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  4. #20064
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    I think the point is more explicit dice rolls/RNG.

    But the most popular RPGs of the past few years have mostly minimized them to the point of serving only for critical success/failure and dialogue/skill checks. The rest is all "player skill" and the like.
    if wizardry was here, he would would say that "player skill" does not make a game an rpg.

    always saw his point, didn't agree with it but he had a valid point. ME3 hides dicerolls but they are quiet prevalent. yet it still demands a lot from player skills... which is a bit irritating. its my skill which determines whether the grenade lands in front of my feet or it hits the enemy not supposedly badass veteran soldier Shepard.

    so dice roll are in some ways much better than replacing them with player skills. it allows to simulate badassery and skills of the character you supposed to be not of a guy sitting on his ass in front of the monitor.
    the worst is lockpicking... god how i hate those minigames :(

  5. #20065
    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    South Park started kind of funny, then stopped being funny, then really funny, then really really funny, then kind of funny, and now not funny.

    I suspect the game will be funny because theyíre not cramming an episode in a week.
    Oh, yea don't get me wrong SP has had some brilliant mid-series episodes like that Internet one or Cartman's various crusades. Sadly the latest stuff has me flipping channels almost immediately.

    The game has a fair amount of good gags; I've been given a quest to Find Jesus which is awesome. Really it's best played in the evenings when you've cracked open a beer. Or better yet go with something herbal which is the traditional way of sampling the South Park/Macfarlane genre of humor.

  6. #20066
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldvvvave View Post
    Here goes short version. It's really hard for me to accept pretty much everything in this game. DnD? Dice rolls? Harsh class restrictions? Lifeless boring world? Starting with a character who is not 1st level?
    I'd also like to add that not starting at Level 1 in BG2 is pretty solidly explained -- you're supposedly picking things up after the campaign in BG1.

  7. #20067
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    if wizardry was here, he would would say that "player skill" does not make a game an rpg.

    always saw his point, didn't agree with it but he had a valid point. ME3 hides dicerolls but they are quiet prevalent. yet it still demands a lot from player skills... which is a bit irritating. its my skill which determines whether the grenade lands in front of my feet or it hits the enemy not supposedly badass veteran soldier Shepard.

    so dice roll are in some ways much better than replacing them with player skills. it allows to simulate badassery and skills of the character you supposed to be not of a guy sitting on his ass in front of the monitor.
    the worst is lockpicking... god how i hate those minigames :(
    Oh, I definitely agree, and I actually still think VTM:Bloodlines had a wonderful model, just with awkard presentation (I think The Witcher 2 is essentially the same approach, just with the numbers hidden)

    The key is to find a balance in terms of gameplay. But in terms of visuals, gamers these days don't really want to see the numbers popping up. Which is great because it makes them forbidden fruit and it results in all of us creaming our pants when something like Grimrock 2 or Divinity Original Sin come out and plaster sexy numbers everywhere.
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  8. #20068
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    It depends somewhat on the type of game you're after, but in general if you obscure most of the numbers from a non-action RPG you're limiting the player's ability to actually make informed gameplay and character-building decisions. The player skill in this case is mostly about how effectively you use the data you gather while playing the game to infer the mechanics. If you provide most of the numbers and rules then the player skill is mostly about exploiting these rules to your advantage.

    In action-RPGs you have rather more leeway to obscure the mechanics or use very simple RPG mechanics because you have the player skill of actually carrying out the actions as well. There's still the point that you can't make informed character-building decisions in some cases, but you can make character development much simpler in action-RPGs. For instance you can make your character development streamlined: a choice between "better at shooting", "better at hitting", "better at magic", "better at not dying" say. If these are your only choices in a non-action RPG then your character definition system isn't rich enough, but it should be fine in something like Mass Effect.

    One can imagine an action-RPG in which physical player skill is the main significant factor for governing activities such as gunplay, movement, dodging and so on, but in more non-physical activities such as character interactions you have a RNG-based game that relies on character skill and player decisions, analogous to combat in a non-action RPG.
    Last edited by NathanH; 06-03-2014 at 02:36 PM.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  9. #20069
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    It depends somewhat on the type of game you're after, but in general if you obscure most of the numbers from a non-action RPG you're limiting the player's ability to actually make informed gameplay and character-building decisions. The player skill in this case is mostly about how effectively you use the data you gather while playing the game to infer the mechanics. If you provide most of the numbers and rules then the player skill is mostly about exploiting these rules to your advantage.

    In action-RPGs you have rather more leeway to obscure the mechanics or use very simple RPG mechanics because you have the player skill of actually carrying out the actions as well. There's still the point that you can't make informed character-building decisions in some cases, but you can make character development much simpler in action-RPGs. For instance you can make your character development streamlined: a choice between "better at shooting", "better at hitting", "better at magic", "better at not dying" say. If these are your only choices in a non-action RPG then your character definition system isn't rich enough, but it should be fine in something like Mass Effect.

    One can imagine an action-RPG in which physical player skill is the main significant factor for governing activities such as gunplay, movement, dodging and so on, but in more non-physical activities such as character interactions you have a RNG-based game that relies on character skill and player decisions, analogous to combat in a non-action RPG.
    I think we are really getting in to the "What is an RPG?" territory here.

    You say "limits the ability to make informed decisions", but someone else might say "Creates a disconnect between my skills as a player and my character". Hell, I LOVE the super complex character sheets (seriously, I have bought PnP rule books just to roll characters and embrace my inner munchkin, not even to play), but I also won't pretend that games can't be streamlined.

    Take Demon Souls and Dark Souls. In Demon, to be a mage you needed to bump up your (Note: All of these names are probably wrong :p) int to be able to cast spells and to affect the power of your spells as well as your magic skill to affect your mana bar. And another attribute if you wanted to cast Miracles (cleric spells). You also had three separate stats for your equip load (what you can wear), your inventory load (what you can carry), and your stamina. Dark Souls simplified this drastically by making one stat for sorcery, one stat for miracles, getting rid of mana, making an infinite inventory capacity, and merging the equip load and stamina attributes. And it worked great (although, they are decoupling the last bit for Dark Souls 2).

    Or look at Dragon's Dogma, where you have a pretty decent character sheet but the only stats you really influence are your physical attack and your magic attack (the rest increases naturally). And you don't even have direct control over that, it just increases when you level up based on what class you are. People who want to min/max can look at the progression tables, but everyone else just knows "if I want to use magic, be a mage or a sorceror" and what not.
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  10. #20070
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    I think we are really getting in to the "What is an RPG?" territory here.

    You say "limits the ability to make informed decisions", but someone else might say "Creates a disconnect between my skills as a player and my character". Hell, I LOVE the super complex character sheets (seriously, I have bought PnP rule books just to roll characters and embrace my inner munchkin, not even to play), but I also won't pretend that games can't be streamlined.
    I agree that in action-RPGs there is plenty of potential for streamlining either RPG mechanics or physical player skill mechanics. In fact I'd be tempted to go as far as saying that I think that action-RPGs are best when the sit close to an extreme, either mostly physical player skill or mostly (character skill + mental player skill). In a non-action-RPG though you don't quite have so much to play with, because you don't have physical player skill. To make an interesting non-action-RPG system you either need a sufficiently deep character building system or a sufficiently deep tactical combat engine or both. In all three cases it tends to make more sense to be quite explicit about the underlying mechanics. It's not always the case, but it's usually a good move.

    Of course you can always choose a very light system for your game too whether it's an action-RPG or a non-action-RPG, for instance if you want to focus on a narrative game and just have some light gameplay essentially as a side-dish. I don't particularly have an opinion on whether obscuring mechanics is a good idea or a bad idea in such a game. My intuition is that it doesn't make much difference.
    Last edited by NathanH; 06-03-2014 at 03:58 PM.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  11. #20071
    Network Hub Hensler's Avatar
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    Still playing The Banner Saga. I'm not sure how far into the game I am, but the map-level metagame just took a pretty shocking turn, and I've only got myself to blame for it. The choices you make in this game certainly feel like they have a huge impact on the story - I'm already looking forward to a 2nd playthrough, just to see how I could have done things better. I love this game.

  12. #20072
    Activated Node realitysconcierge's Avatar
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    I'm playing the Tyranid campaign in DOW2: Retribution and also leveling a bit in the multiplayer in Bad Company 2​. I also beat the golem in Terraria officially finishing my playthrough of that. I love the progression style in that game. It's just so satisfying.
    Last edited by realitysconcierge; 06-03-2014 at 08:40 PM.

  13. #20073
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    DE:HR might not have. Hard to tell.
    Only if you've never hacked anything in the whole game.
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  14. #20074
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    There are lots of tabletop games that avoid randomizers and some of them would translate nicely into the PC space. At the very least the classic "roll+modifier" dnd-like way of doing things isn't nearly as ubiquitous in the table space as the PC space, and there's a lot PC gaming could learn from innovations in table-top board and RP game design.

    PC games can make the whole tons-of-stats-and-modifier-heavy-dice-mechanics thing work WAY better than it does on the table, for sure. There are just other ways to go about it.

    Also if you can't see how one would make a plausible simulation with determinism or at least with less simulationist-school dice mechanics, there is a world of design you're missing out on. The benefit to dice, I feel, is not that they simulate. Rules simulate. Dice mechanics evoke. Having to check that your character is strong enough to climb the wall simulates reality. Dice evoke reality by creating unpredictability. At least, that's the language I personally like to use because I feel it's more meaningful to distinguish between those two aspects. As an example:

    Many games have an extra effort mechanics. The simplicity-itself Ghost/Echo confers an extra die to actions for which you are particularly prepared, FATE gives you Fate Points you can spend to do better at actions that speak to the heart of your character and that you can gain by giving in to your character's weaknesses, etc. CRPG games rarely have this extra effort mechanic; ways in which you can use expendable out-of-world resources to change the outcome of the game at points that are too important to you, your character, or both to be left entirely up to the stats and the dice. Critical Hits are dull as dirt. Give me Critical Points that I can spend with a button press to do critical damage a limited number of times per game level, per character level, per game, or what-have-you. Let the game cop to it's gameness and give me shortcuts through which to engage with the simulation. Meta gaming happens inevitably in CRPGs; design your game to embrace that and make it part of the system rather than a weakness.

    This evokes reality. It's that moment where the character tries really hard or where all of their actions and decisions and developments come to a head to help them get out of a fix or make the right decision. It's the moment where they put everything on the line and make it across that line at some great cost elsewhere. Simulation can't do that for you and in order for dice to do that for you they have to step outside of mere simulation. I can create dice mechanics that make no effort to simulate and create realism but are extremely evocative of particular experiences due to the way in which they use unpredictability and chance to engage the player in decision making; I can create a game that feels more real than the most convoluted and sophisticated of war games because it forces you to make the kinds of decisions and face the kind of mental (though not emotional) pressure faced by the characters. The "simulationist" approach is often-times, I feel, less real and immersive. You have to grapple with abstract, gamified systems representing concrete things; you have to make gamified decisions in real situations. Clever design gets you away from that to evoke the experience of trying to perform tasks under fire where a detailed rule system does not. Clever design forces you to game the system in a way that's more like the real experience than the ways you would game the simulation. Clever design doesn't just think about where it puts it's dice and stats and rolls, but where the loopholes are. Because you will have loop-holes; the trick is making them work for you.

    The trick with PC design, too, is that some of it's apparent ability to mask all of this dice-rolling isn't very useful on second glance. By hiding some of this simulation and mechanic you're not delivering a lot of information to the player. The player doesn't necessarily experience the detail of the rules being layered into the background dice-rolling very well. Creating an overly complex simulation can lead us into a very strange place unless you take the utmost of care to provide reliable feedback in-world. Far Cry 2 is a nice example of providing that sort of feed-back with a lot of it's systems in a way few RPG games do. Fallout 3 took a different tack but it did alright. At the same time that granular approach took away almost as much as it added; upgrading stats had a severely limited effect and it was the perks that really made leveling up work properly and created proper mechanical exploration of the world.

    A lot of lighter designs and board-game designs grok all of this. They create experiential play states. They make rules that understand they are rules rather than rules that try to disguise themselves as laws of physics. In FPS games, that sort of thing works a bit better, and in games that blur the lines between action game and RPG I would say something similar. But I think PC gaming has a lot to learn about how to best apply RPG mechanics to games.

    We're players. We play games. We exploit them. We need to design games that are meant to be played and exploited if we really want them to shine. PC gaming has a lot of trouble understanding that, I feel. That is an understand that comes from maturity in the medium's relationship with it's audience that tabletop gaming has reached, film flirts back and forth with, TV has really come to grok over the course of my lifetime, and PC gaming really struggles with.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 06-03-2014 at 10:38 PM.
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  15. #20075
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    Having owned it for a while but generally being one to avoid 'Alphas' and 'Betas' I recently gave-in to temptation and installed/played a bit of 'Sir! You are being Hunted!"

    It seemed, to me, that it's been around a while and would be on the way to being a game - but - err - it's not really is it?

    I love the atmos and there's the bones of a game there but it's FAR from being something I'd want to play as-is?

    Far too much walking - far too much random crappy loot - sound isn't really helping me place stuff in the world (essential in a sneaky game) etc.

    Worst part is you'll often simply find yourself surrounded by robots and with no sign or clue of a piece of the item to be seen anywhere - I think I managed to walk for over 20 mins without seeing anything useful at one point (and I'd long since lost track of the way back!!)

    I'll look again in another year perhaps - maybe - but this is what happens when we pay people before they've done their job fully I suspect (see also Desktop Dungeons which took WAY WAY too long to make it to a finished state)

  16. #20076
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    I think I may give up on my play-through of Thief. As much as I appreciate what the game does (and it is quite fun when everything comes together), I find that it's often too frustrating to be worth it. Granted, it may just be that I'm terrible at the game, but I find the level design to be incredibly confusing in a way that completely kills any enjoyment I may be having with it.

  17. #20077
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    Also if you can't see how one would make a plausible simulation with determinism or at least with less simulationist-school dice mechanics, there is a world of design you're missing out on. The benefit to dice, I feel, is not that they simulate.
    I find it hard to imagine you can sensibly simulate a system realistically without randomization, particularly when it comes to the outcome of someone's actions. I don't think we have even vaguely plausible physical models of how effective someone is going to be at a given moment. If you don't know what someone's level of competence is going to be at a given moment and you're trying to predict the outcome of the action then it makes sense to use uncertainty. That's what I'd do if this was actually a real-world problem I wanted to investigate, so it seems sensible to use a similar approach here.

    Of course as you say you can abandon any pretence at simulation and just make a gamey game system. I don't have any problem with that, but the original point related to being against dice rolling in principle, which is essentially a statement that you don't want any RPGs to attempt a plausible simulation of reality. This would seem like a massive waste of potential especially when we have powerful machines that will happily do computations for us instantly.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  18. #20078
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sonson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Track View Post
    I think I may give up on my play-through of Thief. As much as I appreciate what the game does (and it is quite fun when everything comes together), I find that it's often too frustrating to be worth it. Granted, it may just be that I'm terrible at the game, but I find the level design to be incredibly confusing in a way that completely kills any enjoyment I may be having with it.
    Thief was revolutionary, but pretty flawed. For all of its marvellous weirdness there's an extent to which that takes precedence over gaming semantics. Far too much supernatural shit in for the sake of weirdness, at the expense of balance and design. It's got to a stage now where the sheer novelty is difficult to appreciate I would say. I was lucky enough to play it the first time round, but it's been eclipsed as anything other than a retro/cultural dabble. Which is not to say its pointless, as I love that stuff, but taken in isolation it's very middling.

    Theif II is a far better game. Consistently excellent levels, superior plot, more ways of approaching puzzles, more opportunity to play with systems. The sort of things which make for a timeless gaming experience.

  19. #20079
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Wenz's Avatar
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    Thief 2 is a better game when it comes to stealth experience but Thief is pretty balanced in many aspects: you can get the whole narrative structure in the first minutes of the first mission along with Garret's monologue which introduces locations and puts the player into the thief role. So yeah, thief's storytelling is supposed to be a major thing pushing players forward. Story's a bit meh but doesn't really matter
    Last edited by Wenz; 07-03-2014 at 11:30 AM.

  20. #20080
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    But the burricks. Screw the burricks, man.

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