Author Topic: Cataclysm of Chaos V8  (Read 2228 times)

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #100 on: November 02, 2017, 02:04:50 PM »
Thanks for that. It appears I can put in custom ones, with javascript, so have to take a look into that later.

Well, for reference, I would pay to buy something like CoC. The question is how much. In its current, unfinished state I could realistically see myself spending $5 on it. If it was finished dunno. Ask too high a price, and people will likely feel swindled. Ask too low a price, and people will wonder why you are selling it so low, and wonder if its because it has horrible bugs or isn't complete or its a scam.

The issue is I'm not doing pure randomness; I'm going for a controlled, and consistent progression, which cannot be achieved with pure randomness; great example of that is Diablo 3. If the rolls favor you, you progress in the game, if they don't you are stuck. I HATE THAT. So, the reward distribution logic goes as follows:

1. I want rewards to be consistent.
2. I want additional gameplay challenge, that takes advantage of the consistent reward theme. The more resources and power the player has, the bigger and nastier the threats you can throw at them, without killing them.
3. Constant progression and the constant feeling that progression is in the hands of the player can be more rewarding that the occasional drip of loot in loot hunt games.

Therefore, with the way I'm designing the game, a statistical model for reward distribution isn't going to work. Its too random and I want a system of consistent progress which cannot be achieved in a pure random system; many games have tried and they all fail. You either get lucky, and have progress or you aren't lucky and you hit the wall of frustration.

However, with that said, I do feel that my "rare" items are a bit too "common" and thus their rarity doesn't feel all that rare. You do get SS when you don't find a rare item, so its not like the player is getting nothing when a rare roll occurs.
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #101 on: November 02, 2017, 02:38:08 PM »
I want to challenge your thinking a bit here with the following claim:
The result of random processes over a long period of time are often very predictable.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #102 on: November 02, 2017, 04:25:23 PM »
Counter Points:

We often call things random because we do not understand the complexities involved and have no way to prove that it isn't random. By default, humans will call something random if they cannot prove that they can replicate an activity and produce the same results. Take dice rolling for example. We consider it random, but I'd say that if we could control all the variables in a dice roll (force applied to dice, angle of throw, height of throw, air resistance, surface friction, etc) then we could actually get the dice to roll the same number on consistent basis. However, as we don't have control over all the variables, we state that rolling a dice is random; each time we throw the dice, it lands on a different surface, we throw it at different angles, we throw at different forces, air resistance is not a constant thing, etc. The same goes for many things humans feel are random, like the weather, or wind direction, or genetics. I'd wager that all of these things are not random and are in fact heavily controlled by a large number of complex calculations that we as humans lack the understanding of or the ability to measure/test to prove that they aren't random.

Therefore, I'd argue that the only reason that they can predict things is because by having a larger sample size of "random" events they can eliminate some of the randomness by plotting graphs and creating models to show a more controlled distribution of results. However, with that said, randomness and fun are two different things.

People have fun when they feel like they are in control of the situation within a game. When progression can be attained by putting enough hard work into the game. When progression is gated by pure randomness, that is not fun. I've played a lot of games that give or take progression based on a random roll of the die, taking away player agency. My game is not designed like most other games that love to do pure random distribution; it is one of my design philosophies for CoC.

I will look into reducing some of the item progression explosion, but as I want a specific progression rate so that players feel challenged, but don't feel like they have to farm/grind for hours before moving to the next area, is what I'm trying to achieve.
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #103 on: November 04, 2017, 02:53:35 PM »
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... randomness and fun are two different things
Determinism and fun are also two different things.  ;)

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People have fun when they feel like they are in control of the situation within a game.
When they're in complete control of a situation, they are bored.

Consider for a moment an RPG with no randomness. All calculations are fixed. All responses to player input are deterministic. You could, over time, learn what every response will be, and so know ahead of time what is best to do. You could play a perfect game. And you could repeat it time and again. Every time through the game, giving the same commands, and getting the exact same results. The game would be the same every time you played through it. Is that fun?

It's also not so far fetched, since players develop certain styles, and don't tend to deviate from them without a reason. If plain attacking until a monster dies has always worked, they will continue playing this way. It's not until the game produces different output that the player needs to consider different inputs.

You mention "pure randomness", but what does that really mean? It sounds like you're describing complete chaos, where the player's actions have basically no impact on the outcome of the game. Yeah, that's not fun. I also don't think that's representative of most games.

I'm advocating for controlled randomness. The player's actions should matter, but they should not completely determine the result of playing. With carefully controlled random events, you should have fairly predictable measures of how fast a player will progress through the game. Each monster might have slightly different characteristics and rewards, but you can still calculate a range for the number of monsters that must be defeated to reach a certain level of progression. How tight or loose that range is will impact how deterministic or random the game feels.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #104 on: November 04, 2017, 03:26:10 PM »
I agree complete control of a situation isn't entertaining... which is also only ever achieved with cheat codes; ie Power Overwhelming (invulnerability) in StarCraft 1. However, I said when the player feels they are in control of the situation, not when they know they have complete control. For example, take Dark Souls 1. If you run through a specific area enough times, and know enemy moves and where enemies are, you can feel in control of the situation and can often roflstomp your foes. Doesn't mean you are in complete control, as the AI will on occasion do something different and doesn't mean that the player can make mistakes and turn a controlled situation into an uncontrolled one. However, a player will reasonably feel that they are in control. I make the difference between feeling and knowing, because they are very different. You would have complete control of the situation in Dark Souls, if for example you were invulnerable and thus couldn't be killed.

A lot of games fall under that though; they have fixed encounters, with foes with fixed values, and will react in the same way everytime. A lot of AAA games have eschewed with randomness and have fixed values and thus replaying the game will play pretty much exactly the same. Take as an example, Mario. It is completely fixed encounters and mechanics, and yet people find it fun even to this day. True, its not technically a RPG, but games can be fun when they are deterministic, and always fair. Also, there are RPGs with completely fixed mechanics out there that do just fine. As an example, back in the early 2000s, there was a game called Rune, where you played as a Nordic hero in norse times, that had all the trappings of an RPG, but everything was fixed and could always find items in reliable locations. Or take doom (the old one), everything is deterministic there as well. You don't need to have randomness to have fun.

True. That is an issue of First Order Optimal Strategies, which is a hard thing to prevent in gameplay design. There is always one build or style that will be the best, but it may not be the FOOS. As an example, Dark Souls often forces a player to adapt, however, often times the best build is always going to be a spellcaster. Players might try being melee, or stealthy or ranged, but eventually they realize spellcasters are the best and then the game is flooded with spellcasters.

Its not representative of most RPGs, but it is representative of roguelikes. In the case of most roguelikes, from ADOM, to Darkest Dungeon, to Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, to Rogue Legacy, the game often will introduce pure randomness into the game, making player choices often irrelevant and I can assure you that is not fun. Its painful to have your character wiped out, due to a situation out of your control or lack of knowledge. As an example, in ADOM, if you get to the level with the Banshee in the caverns of chaos, and don't have beeswax in your ears, you insta-die. If you know of the banshee beforehand, such as you've died to her before, but can't find any bee hives to collect beeswax, you are in fact screwed. You could argue that player inputs could have a mitigating effect, but it is often minor compared to the effects of the RNG. Or take Darkest Dungeon, you can have an extremely well prepared and well designed group with proper skills, but the RNG can decide to kill off three of your characters, within the first round of combat, before you have a chance to do anything.

Im doing controlled randomness... so I don't understand why there is a problem. The players actions and choices do matter and proper usage of resources, will help to ensure success but not determine it. Monsters are created with a decent amount of variance to their stats, so just being able to kill a LV 2 primal wasp, doesn't mean you will have a guaranteed success against the next one, but coming properly prepared will improve your odds. I do have carefully controlled events, and thus I am able to assess how quickly a player progresses in the game. Well, I'm trying to get a balance between deterministic and random, so if I'm not achieving that, then that is where I'll make modifications to push it from one extreme back to the middle ground.
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #105 on: November 04, 2017, 04:04:32 PM »
To be overly pedantic, "knowing" is a feeling. ;)
(Just ask brain scientists)
But yes, I get what you're saying.

I would challenge that Doom is not deterministic. Though I do admit it doesn't feel very random.

Rogue did feel overly random. Very easy to die, with harsh consequences.

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Or take Darkest Dungeon, you can have an extremely well prepared and well designed group with proper skills, but the RNG can decide to kill off three of your characters, within the first round of combat, before you have a chance to do anything.

It sucks when you die before you have a chance to react to something. Though in some cases, there is still player choice to be in an area before they're strong enough to handle what might come at them. They can choose to risk doing an area early, and getting the rewards early, at the chance of dying if they are unlucky. That's a fine choice. But forcing a player through an area where they might simply die due to bad luck is not so fun. At least, it's not so fun when there are large consequences. If they get free do-overs, that lessens the consequences.

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Im doing controlled randomness... so I don't understand why there is a problem.
Interesting. I never said there was a problem.  ;)

I disagreed with your view, as it was stated. But perhaps not as intended? Curiously, your game doesn't seem to match the view you stated, since there is plenty of randomness in it. In particular, the amount of rewards varies quite substantially.

Which is fine.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #106 on: November 04, 2017, 04:49:15 PM »
True. Knowing is a feeling. However, knowing is usually based on empirical, testable, facts, whereas feeling you are in control, often is not based on factual information, more on opinions of your current ability/player skill.

Well, one could argue that Doom isn't deterministic as for example, an Imp may decide to attack you with claws or with a fireball when within a specific range, or maybe they wont attack at all and just wander about. However, the majority of gameplay is deterministic, with a linear path, fixed locations for everything, and weapons that function within expected parameters every time with little variance (spread introduced in the shotgun or super shotgun, can give different shot patterns, but usually function the same way at point blank range).

Yep. Hence why my game has the second wind feature; doesn't guarantee you'll survive a killing blow, but if you have high vitality, you probably will survive, but second winds do have their own consequences as well.

Well, the issue with Darkest Dungeon is that once you reach a certain level, characters refuse to do lower level dungeons. So, you are essentially forced to bring them into harder dungeons as you have no other option other than not bringing them to battle. But as you will need several 7th level hero parties to beat the game, you don't really have many options available to you. You have the option of sending lower level characters to a higher level dungeon, but you can't send higher level heroes to a lower level dungeon, to mitigate your risks.

Well the other issue with roguelikes is that its permadeath. Now, in the original Rogue, which was intended to be played to a maximum of 1 hour, that kind of system worked well. But newer roguelikes want you to spend 20+ hours on guys with permadeath and that sucks when you lose them.

Oh. Sorry I must have misread/misinterpreted one of your responses then. Hard to tell sometimes with the internet.

Well, perhaps I should rundown the areas which I feel are controlled randomness, and see where the disconnect is.

1. Attack/Dodge rolls are based on a d10 random roll + modifiers. So if a creature is 10+ your maximum total, you aren't going to hit it/it will always hit you.
2. Loot determination rolls are based on a d100 roll for commons, a d60 roll for drainers and a d20 roll for bosses (approximate rolls + modifiers), to ensure that nastier threats get rewards more often; if you fail the roll you get SS. Traps use drainer rolls and Mega loot use bosses rolls, to determine rare items.
3. Monster stats are given a base level and a base bonus per depth + a d10 roll to add variance. Monster difficulty ramps up quickly, based on depth level, and in particular for Primals, how many Primals get killed.
4. A lot of games do do loot explosions (ie Diablo 3)... the issue is that most of that loot is useless, so it gives the illusion of a loot explosion. In my game, the loot is almost always useful for your build of character.
5. Amount of rewards varies based on risk. If you got very little loot from interactables and had a nasty effect if you got a trap, I doubt most players would bother interacting with the investigables. Monsters give fairly consistent amounts of loot and Primals get a bit more, and Bosses are loot pinatas.

I could however reduce the amounts of loot by changing the loot tables (ie changing from Boss table to Commons table) or reducing the number of loot rolls or making rare items in general more rare by modifying the d100, d60, d20 to something less generous.

However, gameplay challenge wise, you get rewards like you do for a few reasons:
1. Monsters will quickly ramp up in difficulty as you delve deeper.
2. Traps will get nastier quite quickly the deeper you delve.
3. Bosses are a serious threat.
4. You have a time limit.
5. I want the player to progress at a rate that allows them to survive encounters, but that they should force them to use up their resources and plan out how to kill the monster. Some strategies will likely always work, no matter the critter and others may take a bit more thought to work out.

I could reduce the rate of progression, so that a player has to grind more to be able to progress, but dunno if encouraging more grinding is a good idea.

Thoughts?

EDIT: Finally managed to address all of the problems in the new Monster Descriptions system, that will greatly improve gameplay immersion when fighting monsters. Hoping to have all of the new monster descriptions into the game by tomorrow.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 12:12:24 AM by lordpalandus »
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #107 on: November 06, 2017, 01:09:36 AM »
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1. Attack/Dodge rolls are based on a d10 random roll + modifiers. So if a creature is 10+ your maximum total, you aren't going to hit it/it will always hit you.

In games like D&D, if you roll the maximum value, you always hit, regardless of values and modifiers. Similarly, a minimum roll is always a miss. Makes sense, since you probably don't want situations where a monster can never hit or miss you. It's not so great when monsters are unable to harm you, even if you're letting them. Similarly, if a monster lands a hit, they should probably do at least 1 damage, rather than having armour absorb all of it.

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4. You have a time limit.
... what?

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I could reduce the rate of progression, so that a player has to grind more to be able to progress, but dunno if encouraging more grinding is a good idea.
I have generally enjoyed games that have a bit of grind. Makes levelling up more of an accomplishment.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #108 on: November 06, 2017, 01:40:03 AM »
I dunno about critical hits and misses. Also, don't know how to apply them in the game at the moment either. Bit of feature creep.

Yes... didn't you read the backstory of the game? In particular, this section:

"Thus, they sovereign of the land put out a call to adventurers to enter the sewer system, stop whatever is causing the creatures to come out and those that succeed will be granted a lavish reward, knighthood, and a title to a large chunk of land! Thus, hundreds of adventurers have flocked to the Old Empire's Capital City, the promise of a lavish reward on their mind, compelling them to enter. Unfortunately, none have returned and although the army is able to hold off the current creatures coming out, if something isn't done soon, they will be overcome."

You start with 1,000 turns. Killing bosses and primals will add more turns. If you run out of turns it is gameover.

Well there is a sense of grind here; gaining character levels does require killing a fair number of creatures to do, and as levelling is the single greatest source of more HP and MP, as well as race specific attributes, they are worthwhile to work towards. I don't want too much grind though, as if you spend too much time grinding, you'll run out of turns. Its a balancing act.
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #109 on: November 06, 2017, 03:13:50 AM »
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You start with 1,000 turns. Killing bosses and primals will add more turns. If you run out of turns it is gameover.

Huh. Well that's completely unexpected.

I'm not a fan of that rule. I can see that really killing the joy of a game. You work hard to advance your character, and then suddenly lose because you've wasted too much time? Even if you saved, you can't go back, not really. The counter is still there. And you can't even see it. The player will have just wasted a large chunk of time only to be suddenly and unexpectedly killed, or potentially find the game unwinnable. That sounds very Rogue-like. It's also a fairly arbitrary restriction on how people are able to play the game. Some people might want to play through quickly, taking on challenges with a weaker character, while others might want a slower safer grind with a stronger character. You're taking that decision away from the player. It seems even more restrictive than games that don't allow a high level player to re-enter a low level area. I've always hated that. Here, once you've hit the limit, you can't re-enter any area, it's game over. The turn limit seems kind of like feature creep, and without adding anything of significance to the game. At least that's my overly biased opinion on the matter.

Granted, I've been a fan of games like Runescape, which has an insane amount of grind, and also allows for very free open access to the game world. You get out what you put into it. You're never forced to do anything, you're just given the option to go do things. And if you do, you unlock rewards, such as access to a new area, often with long term benefits.

Sounds like that's the complete opposite of what you're going for.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #110 on: November 06, 2017, 10:05:15 AM »
A time consequence for a player's actions or inactions, helps to make a players actions feel meaningful, discourages wasting time, and helps to motivate the player to complete specific tasks in a reasonable amount of time, while discouraging some actions as well. Having a time consequence, is a sign of good game design. Take any of the Elder Scrolls games (I've only played Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, so cant comment on others) have no consequence for your time. The NPCs could tell you that great events are moving quickly and there are escalating dangers, but in reality, these dangers or great events only move forward as the player completes quests. Thus, once told this information, a player could decide to run around and lollygag for hours and feel that their choices lacked consequences.

I am however against games having a time limit, and not telling you what it is or giving you sufficient time to do detours / level grinding. A game that does time limits quite well, is in fact Outpost 2. For most missions, you have plenty of time to complete the tasks required of you, and some extra time to spend on building up your colony for the next missions, such as letting your population grow or researching some optional technologies. However, if you take too much time, the Blight will come and destroy your base.

There are a lot of good games out there that employ a time consequence for your actions, and my two favorite ones are Fallout 2 and Exile 3: Ruined World (Avernum 3 didn't quite accomplish it in the same way). In Fallout 2, if you took too long, your tribe died, but you has like 120 days to accomplish your task; that is a lot of time. So much time that I actually was able to visit all the major locations and many of the side locations, with like 5-10 days remaining. Now if I had spend tons of time in the wilderness hunting for encounters, I might have run out of time. Exile 3 has events move forward around the player as the days pass, so if you commit to inaction in stopping a monster plague in an area, towns will become abandoned, capital cities will get heavily attacked, travelling shopkeepers will die... but if you destroy the monster plague quickly, none of these things come to pass... thus making your actions feel meaningful.

Now for my game, you start with 1000 turns, and as implied by the story, if you lollygag too much, you will lose the game, to give players that sense of time consequence and make their actions feel more meaningful. In my current setup, I am fairly generous with the amount of extra turns a player gets by killing primals and bosses. Killing a primal adds +100 turns and bosses adds +400 turns. Think of the primals as being connected to the final boss... much like how Bloodthirsters in Warhammer 40k, are avatars of Khorne, created from their essence and returned to Khorne when killed. The bosses, made pacts with the final boss, which explains their connection to them. The final boss is trying to escape and by killing their connected minions, you are hurting them indirectly and delaying their plans. So, if a player avoids lollygagging, they will have tons of time to complete the game in. It will discourage players from always fleeing from Primals and will also encourage players to kill bosses. It will make players choices feel much more meaningful.

The actual number of turns remaining is visible to the player. You see where your current HP and MP are? Scroll down to the bottom.

Well, my opinion on the matter is that some games get the time limit done right and others not so much. My time limit is variable, based on player actions or inactions. There are elements of risk involved with any action a player can do. I find that a good RPG is one where you have multiple options available to you, but none of them are necessarily the best choice to make; rather you have a variety of incomparables and you have to weigh your actions and choices carefully. Giving a time consequence, increases a players agency; they feel like all of their choices matter, all of their choices have a certain level of risk, and every action has a certain level of reward.

As for Runescape... MMORPGs and single player RPGs operate on completely different principles; what works for one, won't work for others. It is expected to have huge grind in MMOs, but for single player games, huge grind generally just kills peoples motivation. Hence, why there are so many mods for Elder Scroll games, to reduce the grind, as they make the grind artificially long, simply because they can, not because it adds value to the game. Grind can be very effective; too much and the game feels like a chore, and too little and the game feels like a cakewalk.

Hope this explains things!
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #111 on: November 06, 2017, 03:42:55 PM »
That's a pretty good explanation.

Kind of got me thinking my own relationship with time might be one of my character flaws.


Will also add that the time component of the challenge is typically important in RTS games, such as Outpost 2. Also got me thinking that's one balance point of Outpost 2 they did a good job with in the campaign.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #112 on: November 06, 2017, 05:26:36 PM »
Well it also has a lot to do with how the grind adds or removes value from the game. I've never played Runescape, but I heard, that there is extremely great value if a player maxes out a skill, and that it takes a long time to max out a skill. Thus, the player does feel a great accomplishment for maxxing out a skill. However, in a game like Morrowind, where gaining another skill point is just like a 1% incremental increase in power and reaching 100 skill, doesn't really provide anything special, having an extremely long grind actually takes away from the experience of playing the game and makes levelling a skill more a chore.

So, I'd say that the level of rewards given to a player for grinding for the highest possible rank or best gear, needs to be quite high, to justify the amount of time needed to accomplish that goal. If the rewards aren't that great or they are just the same as getting a lower rank, the grind feels unduly long and harsh.

However, most MMORPGs do not have that kind of reward payout for grinding, like I've heard for Runescape. Grinding from level 1-60 in Vanilla WoW, is quite pointless as the real game starts at LV 60, and anything before that, its almost a waste of time. Each level gained is a minor boost in power with a small incremental boost to something else, typically with a talent choice. Other games do the grind even worse, like D&D online where you have to acquire 5 ranks, to gain a level, artificially extending the grind to no particular value.

-----------

EDIT: It appears that my Treasure Hunter trait was being always applied, and thus was why the player was finding so many rare items. Because, the usual roll for finding rares is as follows:

Drainers = Rand(21 to 70) + Luck + Floor Level + Primals Killed + Treasure Hunter > 99; so if you haven't killed any drainers and were on floor level 1, you'd need a perfect roll + 28 Luck, to get a rare item, but as the trait was always active, it meant you only needed a perfect roll and 13 Luck.

So by fixing that logic error, players should in theory find fewer rares as it is intended.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 10:29:48 PM by lordpalandus »
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #113 on: November 07, 2017, 10:45:57 PM »
And how does one get the Treasure Hunter trait?

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V7
« Reply #114 on: November 08, 2017, 01:09:44 AM »
Currently, you can only buy it for 5,000 SS from the Celestial, under Traits.
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Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V8
« Reply #115 on: November 08, 2017, 11:17:05 PM »
Updated to V8.

I didn't get all the features I wanted in for this release, in particular lore for Section 3/4 and Section 2/3/4 monster descriptions. I'll be adding a hotfix shortly, to get them added, as well as any errors people encounter. But, as the last release was on Oct 27th, I really wanted to get what I've accomplished into your guys/gals hands to take a look at.

You'll likely notice quite a few things have changed for the better! Enjoy!

EDIT: Updated to Hotfix 1. Fixed a variety of things, and have a few monsters to encounter in Section 2. Monster Descriptions is still being problematic, so Section 3 and 4 has temporary monsters for now. I intend to address it fully in V9, so that all sections will have appropriate monsters. Its just that I didn't want it to delay the Hotfix 1 any further, which is why I released Hotfix 1 now.

EDIT2: I'm not satisfied with temporary monsters in Sections 3 and 4, so I'll work on Hotfix 2.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 10:29:51 AM by lordpalandus »
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Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V8
« Reply #116 on: November 14, 2017, 05:27:46 PM »
I'm currently working on polishing up V8. I found out recently, that although Steam Greenlight and Early Access are still online, getting into either them is now impossible, as of June 2017. So, as my long-term strategic plan depended on them for creating the game as I had desired it to be, I've had to heavily modify my longterm strategic plan. Steam Direct, which is the "new" and overall "worse" system compared to Greenlight, isn't a viable option for me, and would require me to pay upfront several thousand dollars (you have to pay $100 per game, and need to provide them with significant legal and tax documentation that gets very pricy, very fast), for a game that honestly doubt will be a big cash cow; I stand by my product, and feel it is high quality and has decent content but as I've mentioned before I have a lot of variables working against me, so I doubt I could recoup that financial expense upfront.

So, I'm going to go the GOG route. GOG doesn't have financial requirements needed up front; they are only interested in if the game is high quality and well polished (www.gog.com/indie). They are ok with having a partially built game sent to them, for them to decide if its a kind of game they'd want to try selling. So, instead of working on V9, I'm working on polishing up V8, and including all of the monster descriptions and lore entries for Sections 2, 3, and 4, as well as do some significant testing to make sure all things work, such as my positive traits and of course boss loot. So, for the time being I'm putting V9s features on hold while I work on polishing up V8 for giving an excellent impression of the quality and polish that I have in mind for the final product, for GOG to take a look at.
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Offline Vagabond

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V8
« Reply #117 on: November 14, 2017, 05:34:39 PM »
Good luck with GOG. Let me know how the submission to them goes.

When you are done polishing let me know and I'll work some time in to do some testing for you.

-Brett

Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V8
« Reply #118 on: November 14, 2017, 11:08:49 PM »
Yeah, it would be nice to have more info and discussion on publishing. I've never really considered using these services before, so I have no idea how they work.

Also, I don't know how it'd work with the Quest Engine, but if you had your game written in plain JavaScript, I have ideas how you could self publish.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V8
« Reply #119 on: November 15, 2017, 01:19:59 AM »
Well as for GOG, they are pro non-DRM. I'm also pro non-DRM, so that works with my ethics. The reality of DRM is that 95% of the time it only hurts legitimate, paying customers, and doesn't actually prevent piracy. The 5% of the time that it does prevent piracy, also makes playing the game a living hell for the paying customers. So having no DRM for my games is ideal.

As per their submission page, they seem to only care for high quality and well polished titles, without a microtransaction model, which also works for me, as I hate microtransactions and loot boxes. They don't seem to care what game engine you've built a game in, even if it is RPG Maker. As for Quest, it does mention that a developer could host their own server, and thus allow browser play. GOG might offer that service, with GOG Galaxy, or if not, then my user base would likely be restricted to Windows users who can download the desktop version of the engine. That could likely be discussed with GOG. They have to first accept it though, and as I do want them to accept it, I'm focusing on polishing V8, as it does have a significant amount of good content in it.
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos.

Offline Vagabond

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V8
« Reply #120 on: November 15, 2017, 08:44:53 PM »
lordpalandus,

Quote
Well as for GOG, they are pro non-DRM. I'm also pro non-DRM, so that works with my ethics. The reality of DRM is that 95% of the time it only hurts legitimate, paying customers, and doesn't actually prevent piracy. The 5% of the time that it does prevent piracy, also makes playing the game a living hell for the paying customers. So having no DRM for my games is ideal.

If you make it to publishing and start selling decently, it would be a crappy feeling watching people distribute cracked versions of your published game everywhere. I wonder if your view on DRM would soften some realizing all those people circumventing the purchase of your game are preventing you from putting food on the table / paying the rent. I'm not a fan of DRM, but I understand why publishers choose to use it.

Quote
That could likely be discussed with GOG. They have to first accept it though, and as I do want them to accept it, I'm focusing on polishing V8, as it does have a significant amount of good content in it.

This is sort of what I was trying to get at earlier when asking about installers. Unless GOG deals with a fair number of games that use the Quest engine, it will make your game less palitable. They will have to expend time and money deciding how to distribute, which will make your pitch less enticing to them.

It shouldn't be difficult to distribute Quest via an installer that packages it with your actual game. I know Steam will help automate this process for commonly used prerequisites. For example, Steam keeps a copy of the XNA redistributable library for developers to bundle with their games when needed. I don't know that Quest fits this bill though. Steam will also let you install other prerequsites not hosted by them as needed.

If you feel that the Quest engine is an appropriate way to run your game after a legitimate sale, then that is great. If not, then as Hooman said you or the distributor will need to figure an alternative out, which may be prohibitive to the publisher taking a small project like this on board if you don't do the legwork yourself.

I think for PC games, targeting Windows is pretty important. If you don't make it to Macintosh or Linux, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Keep in mind that you couldn't really hunt down bugs on these platforms and certify that your game works on them without havig the operating systems on hand. Unless you are selling enough Linux copies to make it worthwile, perhaps not offering it on Linux is better?

Just some things to consider. I'm not saying that you don't have a decent plan already.

I have some experience publishing with itch.io if you want to go that route, let me know and I'll send some advice if you want it.

-Brett

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V8
« Reply #121 on: November 16, 2017, 12:11:28 PM »
Well the reality of life is that the only truly effective DRM that wouldn't harm a paying customer is the use of Trojan Viruses. However as those are illegal, there is no real way to deter piracy. Its just how purely electronic sales works. Some industries have a greater amount of piracy; I think porn / 3DX has a piracy of about 80%+ of all the users using it; no one likes paying for porn, especially as there are so many scam sites out there that will take your CC number and run. Sometimes a pirate will become a paying customer; as an example, I pirated Space Pirates and Zombies (heh ah the irony) when it first released back in 2011. I liked it so much, that I went out and bought it and became one of the community's staunchest supporters... at least until SPAZ 2 came out in Early Access and destroyed the community.

I think people pirate for a variety of reasons:
1Q. Cost; in some countries, like Russia, $30 USD is the equivalent of $300 in their currency (I believe I recall a figure stating that an average office worker made about $1000 USD a month whereas someone in US would be making about $3000 (18.75 / hour) a month. Most things in Russia are much less expensive; ie makeup that costs 10 USD over here, is only 1-2 USD there. However video games are generally not reduced in price unless they have a physical copy. So if they want to play your game, they'd have to pirate it as its too costly to do so.
1A. A workaround for this is to have a "money jar" that foreigners could digitally put some money into. They may not be able to pay the converted cost of the actual game, but some would likely feel better if they could pay the developer something.

2Q. Demo; they don't trust the vendor of a product, particularly in industries where scamming customers of their CC number is commonplace or where false advertising is rampant... like in AAA games. So they pirate to see how the game runs and if its something they'd like, before purchasing it. Listening to reviews is often not useful, as it has been proven time and again, that sites like IGN and Kotaku, get paid a lot of money to say positive things about a game. And as the culture of demos and shareware has disappeared from the BBC days, people will frequently pirate to demo the product.
2Q. I believe in offering demos of my products (assuming this one sells; if it doesn't, it will make future games harder to do) that are representative of the final product. I figure that for CoC, I could have a demo on the selling page of GOG, that allows you to play Section 1 and 2, but nothing else (its a simple matter of disabling things in my ascend / descend code and thus would be an easy change) to determine if they'd want to buy the game proper. Those that have beta tested it, will obviously already have likely played past that but that is ok.

3Q. DRM; they'll pirate because there is DRM present and are pirated to make a stand against DRM. That is after all, one of the reasons why GOG became so popular, as it offered all of its game DRM free.
3A. I like no DRM myself, so I don't feel that it would be ethical to put it on customers when I don't like it put on the games I like.

---

I've not seen any games on GOG that use the Quest engine; I'll likely be the first. If I'm successful, then others that have considered trying to sell games in Quest, might try to do so. Well according to their www.gog.com/indie page, they do say that they will do a large advertisement campaign for each game that they accept into their catalogue. So in theory at least, they'd likely look into the feasibility of running a server to support the quest engine.

I don't know how to create an installer though.

I am targeting the windows crowd; I'm not sure how many people will play on Macs / Linux when the majority of large games target windows / consoles only. I think that in the indie crowd people target Linux / Mac, but I'm not sure how many people actually do use these OS to play games. I'd like to support other OSs, but as an indie with very little money or know-how at the moment, that may be difficult.

What is itch.io?

« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 12:13:27 PM by lordpalandus »
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos.

Offline Hooman

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V8
« Reply #122 on: November 16, 2017, 10:58:09 PM »
Quote
If you make it to publishing and start selling decently, it would be a crappy feeling watching people distribute cracked versions of your published game everywhere.

I don't think most of those people would ever have spent the money anyway. Customers are the ones with both the ability and the willingness to pay. If they're some broke kid who's pirating the game because they don't have the money to pay for it, or perhaps no means to pay for it (i.e. credit card for online purchases), then there's no way they will buy. If they're some adult with only a passing interest in the game, they might still have no willingness to pay for it. Maybe they'll pirate to try it out and see what it's like, but if they're not willing to pay, they won't buy it.

I doubt piracy has much of an effect on the true buyers.

Quote
Demo; they don't trust the vendor of a product, particularly in industries where scamming customers of their CC number is commonplace or where false advertising is rampant... like in AAA games.
Uhh, what? That makes no sense. AAA games vendors are the ones who least need to scam, and the ones who would be hurt most by trying it. I think you're just harbouring a grudge against big name game companies.



For CoC, it can run in a browser. You don't need to worry about cross platform development. It's more of a hosting concern.

Btw, GitHub pages can probably run your game for free, assuming you're fine with people being able to see the source code. If you want to lock it down a bit, you can get Virtual Machine hosting for $5/month from a provider such as Digital Ocean.

If you're doing something compiled in the future, and you keep it cross platform from the start, it maybe adds ~10% to development costs. If you try to tack in on at the end, that's a big pain, similar to a whole new project, probably adding ~90% to costs. This depends quite heavily on the language and tools though. Languages like C++ tend to expose you to platform differences more than other languages. Still, a lot of C++ code is cross platform.

I'd also like to point out that Continuous Integration tools, such as TravisCI, can automatically compile and test your code on both Mac and Linux servers each time you do a push to GitHub. That can alert you to platform differences as they happen, allowing you to fix code as you're still working on it. Not relevant to your current project, but tools to consider for future projects.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 11:00:34 PM by Hooman »

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V8
« Reply #123 on: November 17, 2017, 12:04:13 AM »
Depends. I read a report from 2016 on PC Gamer (http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-piracy-survey-results-35-percent-of-pc-gamers-pirate/) that said that they got about 50,000 people to give information regarding piracy. The most interesting things I took from this report are that a large number of piracy occurs to demo a product, and in poorer nation states, the two largest reasons are because the game is too expensive or they can't afford it. Lots of interesting statistics on the subject at that link if you are interested.

So, again, my two points, on demoing a product and the money jar idea may be effective solutions to the problems with piracy. Maybe.

Piracy only has an effect on true buyers if the one who developed the game has aggressive DRM policies in place to try to dissuade piracy. Doesn't generally work, but it does do a lot of harm to actual buyers.

===

You haven't been paying much attention to the AAA industry in the past 5 years then I take it? There has been a variety of scams such as false advertising (Aliens: Colonial Marines), bait and switch (No Mans Sky), vertical slicing (Watch Dogs 1), and pre-rendered content being passed off as real gameplay (Pre-Release Trailers for Witcher 3). AAA vendors benefit the most from scamming, as they often get away with it and it doesn't affect their bottom line significantly. The abysmal quality of a few big titles recently, with scams in them or outright lies about there not going to be microtransactions and then a week after launch... bam microtransactions. I don't harbor a grudge against all big name companies... just the ones that have lied, cheated, or scammed people repeatedly and haven't had an ounce of remorse and are willing to keep doing it. Companies like EA, Activision, Gearbox, and occasionally Ubisoft (though to be fair, I haven't bought or pirated a Ubisoft product, not since Far Cry 3). Some large companies, like Paradox Interactive, Take Two Interactive, or Call of Duty developers (yes I know they are owned by Activision, but they overall don't have nasty Activision stuff in their games) I have no problem with.

===

True Enough. Will have to see what GOG says on the matter, assuming they accept my game at all.
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos.

Offline Vagabond

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Re: Cataclysm of Chaos V8
« Reply #124 on: November 17, 2017, 01:05:37 AM »
itch.io is a game distributor that caters to Indie Games. https://itch.io/. They offer kind of interesting features, like offering your game for free but bringing up a donation suggestion when someone downloads it. They also offer the ability to set a base price plus letting the buyer add more to the price if they feel like supporting you extra. They take less money than a normal distributer (30% is standard cut for an online game distributor, Itch recommends you give them %15, but they allow you to give them more or less % per sale based on your own preference).

Their weak side is they have zero barrier to entry for new games and do not check games that people submit, you have to really break out or just get washed away in the sea of new releases garbage. Plus they are a smaller market than GOG or Steam.



If you ever decide to use your own installer, I would recommend taking a look at InnoSetup. http://www.jrsoftware.org/isinfo.php. It is free and offers a nice range of features. If you want to go beyond the built in basic functionality, you can expand its capability by writing scripts in Pascal, which isn't too difficult, but annoying since it is another language to learn. The other competitor for a free windows installer is nullsoft, which I thought looked a little harder to learn than InnoSetup but have no experience with. https://sourceforge.net/projects/nsis/.

However, I like what Hooman brought up about using a browser. This would allow people to play the game on whatever OS they wanted through the browser and hopefully avoid issues with different OS since the browser should be pretty standardized in how it displays content between OSs.

Hmm, I should probably stop offering advice to you though. I'm afraid that my advice may not be the best course / that I am qualified enough to offer it.

Below are some articles by an indie game developer on DRM/Piracy. I think they are well written and worth the read if you are interested in the subject. Don't want to derail your game thread too much, so don't feel like you have to comment about them. I agree a fair amount with his posts.

* http://jeff-vogel.blogspot.com/2010/02/awful-anti-pirate-system-that-will.html
* http://jeff-vogel.blogspot.com/2010/04/yet-even-more-about-evil-drm-from-hell.html
* http://jeff-vogel.blogspot.com/2009/09/some-kind-words-about-drm-for-once.html

-Brett