Designing Fun… You can’t, but there are things you can do to help Balancing the Game
Avoiding Dominant Strategies / Actions How to destroy your gameplay the quick way –Think Red Alert –MarioKart DS Snaking http://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=62301 58990268449095&ei=tOvZSPOpFqXcqAP5- MmRCw&q=mariokart+constant+boost&vt=lf&hl=e nhttp://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=62301 58990268449095&ei=tOvZSPOpFqXcqAP5- MmRCw&q=mariokart+constant+boost&vt=lf&hl=e n
Removing Strategies Harry Potter GameCube Not sure what version 5?? Maybe There is an attack button, and a pickup beans button
Transitive Relationships What is a transitive relationship? If A < B and B < C Then A < C In RTS Games this is typically true for the more basic units
Taming Transitive Strategies / Actions Imposing a ‘cost’ to the higher levels –The cost can be time, money, manna Anything that holds value to the player in the game The Two types of cost Direct Shadow Hidden (Completely) Changing the values of tactics (Converting the strategies to Intransitive ones)
Bad Examples of Shadow Cost Unreal Sniper Rifle –When not scoped damage was terribly weak Everyone knows you run faster with a knife! –Counterstrike FPS Doug Transitive relationships are great for player upgrades
Intransitive Relationships Explicit Loops –Paper Scissors Rock (Rochambeau) –http://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=4 599694985865643698&ei=KPXZSLe1CqXcq AP5- MmRCw&q=cartman+rochambeau&vt=lf&hl= enhttp://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=4 599694985865643698&ei=KPXZSLe1CqXcq AP5- MmRCw&q=cartman+rochambeau&vt=lf&hl= en
RPG’s feature many Intransitive Relationships Different Weapons / Spells for different enemies / Tasks Giving Players reason for choice is important Weighting options through: –Level Design (Enemies Routes Surfaces Pickups) –Challenge Types –Player Preferences
Orthogonal Unit Differentiation By Harvey Smith Every type of Unit should be different Not just in one aspect (eg strength) The Orthogonal design intends each type of Unit to have its own specialisation The more diverse your challenges are, the easier it is to create orthogonal units. –Lego Characters –Reduces the effect of Dominant Strateigies
Limiting Chance Is chance good? Yes Is it bad? Yes –Too much chance will remove the skill factor from a game Typically you want players to gain skill to progress –If chance only affects minor challenges and player actions it has a minor role on the Game Balance
For games with Major Chance Allow chance to vary with risk –High Risk, reduce the failure probability –Low Risk, raise the failure probability Betting in Poker manages this effect Reduce the effect of chance to very small but frequent events If the risk and reward are shadowed, the player must be able to gain some knowledge of the odds. So if the odds will have a major effect on the players game, let them decide weather / how much the risk is worth
Fair Player vs. Player Games Symmetrical Games –All players believe they have the same chance of winning –The rules do not advantage or disadvantage players unequally in ways the player cannot influence –Symmetry can also make games boring, players typically want something more when they play a video game
Dominant Strategies in Symmetrical Games Not as bad as in A-Sym Games, but it will result in all players using the same strategy This won’t break the gameplay but it will remove a lot of fun!
Asymmetric Games The game Mechanics must not break –A dominant strategy will result in unfair gameplay –Testing the Mechanics against as many combinations as possible is a must –Players will tend to change the rules if they see your rules as unfair In UT settings like this can be added as part of the mod config
Points Systems Spore RTS Money Character Attributes Starcraft is an extremely well balanced RTS
Asymmetrical Symmetrical Games In Games such as Unreal Tournament, the AI is given an advantage, to allow it to compete with the player. This should be a last resort, as players will always find out when the AI is cheating and they will hate it! It is much better to add these cheats to the players options, They will more readily accept it They may even feel achievement
Persistent Worlds How do you start playing Wow? –Players with drastically different Levels in the same world. –New resources must be constantly added so new players have something to acquire –Persistent worlds are edited on the fly, and rules can be changed to fix flaws in the game Mechanics –Play Asherons Call without Magic?
Balancing Player vs Environment Games Challenges should be at a consistent level –Remember the difficulty curve Avoid learning by death Avoid stalemates (The secret door in Portal) –Soul Calibre – I broke a Block Puzzle Permanently –Missing Critical Items and still progressing through the game (Tom Raider something!)
Avoid giving players decisions in which they do not have the knowledge to make –You can give them the knowledge –Save the decision till after the player has learnt Ignoring Trivia games and Carmen Sandiego, players should be able to gain all the information they need to finish the game from within
Keeping Challenges Coherent Challenges should be consistent –Adding a super hard puzzle to the last level of a FPS is not going to be enjoyed Perhaps as a Easter Egg, but not core
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