Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-shit

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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby Gollgagh » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:49 pm

Sgt. Shivers wrote:and can just eventually get everything.


See, this is the big problem I have with playing megawads: without either massive restraint from the mappers (to not drop a new weapon every single map) or death exits every ten-ish levels, you tend to max out your arsenal pretty quickly, leaving little incentive for exploration than for its own sake.
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby Shadelight » Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:32 pm

I have the opposite problem with megawads and death exits. It kills any feeling of progression at all as you're forced to 'restart.' and most of the maps after the death exit just feel unfun to play. I get why it's done, I just don't like it at all.
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby Matt » Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:02 pm

Sgt. Shivers wrote:What do you users think about upgrade systems that allow you to max out everything / get every upgrade? I feel like it works if there are very few upgrades but if it's a big and varied upgrade tree then being able to get everything a bit boring. It's not as fun to me if you don't have to weigh up which upgrade you want and can just eventually get everything.
Should be available as a cheat code.
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby Arctangent » Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:12 pm

On the topic of cheat codes, native x10 support, anyone?

Even better if it's an arbitrary multiplier, so if just want to try a run where everything makes you only a big more powerful you can try x1.5, or if you want to see how much it takes to crash the game you can give x1000 a shot.
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby Reactor » Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:48 pm

Maxing out can be avoided with a clever storyline and a few developers' decisions which balance out the gameplay.
Remember the Gaming clichés topic. One of said clichés was stripping the player ALL his armaments and items, leaving him with fists or knife, and he has to get everything back. Half-life utilized it with success, and so did Doom 3, Red Faction, Duke Nukem 3D, Stalin Subway, Quake 4, and so on. It's a bit overused alright, but as you skillfully pointed out, this must be done in order to maintain progressivity during the long journey of saving the kingdom/world/universe WITHOUT the necessity of doing unfair and nasty things (i.e. suddenly giving the Heavy Chaingun Dude the hitpoints or firepower of a Baron of Hell).

If you desire to take away all the player's possessions, you can do it if you substantiate it eligibly. Simply removing everything from the player's armory because meowmeow is annoying as fuck - however, if the storyline makes it necessary, then it's fine. Usually, this happens if the player gets captured by the enemies, an accident happens, or the player has to discard his firearms willingly (entering the enemy's main fortress in disguise, falling into a deep water reservoir, and the weight of the weapons & ammo would pull him down otherwise, has to outrun a fireball and must ditch all his stuff to run faster...possibilities are limitless, use your imagination).
Another method is to keep a few hidden aces in your sleeve - for instance, introduce new and mean monsters, which are tough enough to compete with a maxed-out player. A popular way is to make previously boss enemies regular foes after level 15. I did it in my game previously, and I'll plan to do it in the sequel quite regularly. Got the Anti-matter beam 5 levels ago? Well, here is a nice little enemy who also has this weapon, and is not afraid to use it on YOU! Play nicely!
You can also make certain enemies immune to conventional weaponry. You have the Korgo T-475 "Megablaster" and a shitload of ammo? Good for ya, buddy! Too bad this weapon is useless against Krixkraxians and Lumbulabians! Sometimes life's a bummer, ye?
Last but not least, put the emphasis on something else than butchering - like, uh, puzzles and riddles. Even if the player is fully fitted with the most devastating weapons in the known universe, such things could easily provide a challenge even on later levels. Brains, not brawn, after all :)
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby insightguy » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:50 pm

Reactor wrote:You can also make certain enemies immune to conventional weaponry. You have the Korgo T-475 "Megablaster" and a shitload of ammo? Good for ya, buddy! Too bad this weapon is useless against Krixkraxians and Lumbulabians! Sometimes life's a bummer, ye?

Feels like a recipe for tedious and annoying gameplay, that's like making specifc doom enemies immune to the plasmagun. Less effective I can dig but not outright immune.

Arctangent wrote:On the topic of cheat codes, native x10 support, anyone?

Even better if it's an arbitrary multiplier, so if just want to try a run where everything makes you only a big more powerful you can try x1.5, or if you want to see how much it takes to crash the game you can give x1000 a shot.

That sounds like good chaotic fun.

NeuralStunner wrote:
Sgt. Shivers wrote:What do you users think about upgrade systems that allow you to max out everything / get every upgrade? I feel like it works if there are very few upgrades but if it's a big and varied upgrade tree then being able to get everything a bit boring. It's not as fun to me if you don't have to weigh up which upgrade you want and can just eventually get everything.
I was just saying this to a friend about DMoMM a while back. It also encourages you to play again a different way.

What about dynamic RESPECing? "feel free to invest in the tree as you please with a huge/little/no cost and experiment" Last thing I want is to be stuck in a path I hate.

Matt wrote:Exponential/Incremental:
Qualitative. Shoot 2 bullets but they go off at an angle, or add burning/stun effects, or new secondary function. Big or small, each upgrade should feel like the gameplay has unequivocally changed.


So basically Exponential then? The concept was supposed to compare the Quality:quantity ratio of the upgrades (incremental being small but common upgrades vs exponential being rare but substantial upgrades)
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby Reactor » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:11 pm

It's not that annoying at all, provided the actual level is solvable without killing said enemies, they can be sidestepped and perhaps avoided entirely, or the level provides a weapon which can mince that particular enemy. If it is done right, then it shall not be annoying at all :)
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby insightguy » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:29 pm

Reactor wrote:It's not that annoying at all, provided the actual level is solvable without killing said enemies, they can be sidestepped and perhaps avoided entirely, or the level provides a weapon which can mince that particular enemy. If it is done right, then it shall not be annoying at all :)

As long as it's registered as "This is not doing shit to this enemy" and I can actually see that I'm not doing jack shit then fine. Last thing that I want is to waste all the ammo at an enemy and only finding out after 15 min of firing that I did jack shit.

Back on topic: Asymmetrical upgrades are fun, what are some good examples and why? (please describe what you think makes a good asymmetrical system to ensure clarity.)
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby NeuralStunner » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:56 am

insightguy wrote:What about dynamic RESPECing? "feel free to invest in the tree as you please with a huge/little/no cost and experiment" Last thing I want is to be stuck in a path I hate.
Functionally that's not that different than being able to get all upgrades. A bit worse, actually, since you can just pick whatever is best at the moment. (or you're doing it per "level", and you just described Tyrian.)

Besides, if the upgrades are balanced, of good quality, and straightforward about what they do (all kind of the point of this question), there's next to no chance of getting a "bad build" without knowing what you're getting into.

Matt wrote:Should be available as a cheat code.
And/or New Game Plus.
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby Reactor » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:33 am

Not to mention that in Doom, you have the choice of 7 weapons, whilst in Tyrian, you're stuck with 4 (or 5 if you count the superweapon), therefore getting upgrades will not put you in risk getting a shitty, unusable piece of crap, thus, experimenting with different firearms will greatly pay off.
Also, the upgrade system should be expanded into the armor/health/inventory as well. Why would you be contented with only a lousy bulletproof vest, if you can afford a Mag Deflector? And later, when you have sufficient funds, you can push these improvements even more - purchase a Heavy Mag, and eventually, a Super Mag. Uh, same goes for a backpack, or some kind of magic shit which increases your max-health to 125, 150 or even 200%. It can also be extremely interesting, if you can achieve or buy useful inventory items - portable medikit, proximity scanner, chaos device, or various keys for doors. An unique concept would be to actually "buy" access into a secret level!
This is something which developers should utilize collectibles for, not some dumb achievements collect e-penis measuring which has no practical use whatsoever.
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby Matt » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:38 pm

Definitely a fan of unlimited dynamic respeccing. And I think I might revise my answer about being able to get all the upgrades at once.

If we're talking about a roguelike or deathmatch arena or endless shooter or some other thing where frequently losing all your progress - possibly multiple times - in one sitting is considered part of the fun, or if it's an MMO where I can routinely swap out characters and try different paths without having to replay everything, then I'm not a fan of being able to dynamically respec and get all upgrades.

If it's a long campaign sort of thing where I've got to plug in 10+ hours into each "game" measured from start to finish, I want those hours to let me access everything.
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby Reactor » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:24 pm

Hm. Usually what stuff you're after the most, if you don't have time/resources to max-out everything, Vaecirus? What are your priorities?
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby Matt » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:02 pm

Winning, I guess? I have a terrible incuriosity about experimenting with the game mechanics unless their logic has some relevance to some other thing in my life (which is rare for anything that isn't explicitly an educational game)* or at least some real-world analogue of that thing (which is not terribly rare when that thing is guns, lol).

Besides that, usually whatever's consistent with the character I'm playing and developing as the plot (and metaplot in my head) progresses.


*EDIT: I just realized why I love SimAnt so much but have never really wanted to spend any time or money on ant-themed RTS games. If there's a scientifically faithful myrmecological Dwarf Fortress somewhere out there please let me know...
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby Sgt. Shivers » Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:02 am

My main problem with upgrade systems where you're supposed to get all the upgrades eventually is that it means that they aren't there so you can specialize into a unique play style so they're usually overly general for my tastes. That said, I can't deny how satisfying it is to max out every stat / get every upgrade.
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Re: Upgrade systems: How to make them interesting/fair/not-s

Postby Reactor » Wed May 30, 2018 1:06 pm

If the progressivity is handled well, it should be no problem IMHO. Many games feature "unlocked" good weapons when it's too late, and you won't need it anyhow. Red Faction 2 is a perfect example. You get to wield the dual Nano-Pistols at the VERY last level of the game...when there are hardly any enemies left to kill, except Molov. A great concept, but alas, it is too late to be of any use. Meh...
I like the way Resident Evil 3: Nemesis handled the unlockable or collectible goodies. Beat the Mercenaries minigame, collect some cash, and then you can buy excellent weapons for the main game, like the Rocket Launcher for 4000 bucks. Believe you me, that thing is a life saver in Hard mode, especially when facing Nemmy. It was a gigantic relief to beat Hard mode with an unlimited ammo Rocket Launcher instead of having to wield the knife, and every single zombie slows you down. Now, getting thru the game is a breeze, by blowing the living shit out of the zombies (you only get the Infinite Bullets case after the Hospital level with Carlos, and the last 2 levels aren't that hard without it anyway).
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