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Luridis

Weaseling Game Mechanics - Not Challenging, Irritating!

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What does that mean? The player is given specific abilities to deal with situations. Then, the developer designs a level and realizes a player ability may trivialize whatever silly challenge they came up with. So, they weasel out that player ability by bypassing it in code or putting in some invisible trigger to shut it off.

 

Example: The player is given a levitate spell, you hover a few feet off the ground and damage breaks the spell. Later, a level is designed with pits of fire. In testing levitate makes it a cake-walk. Now you could have fire fall from the sky in a patten that will break levitate; in which case the player has to figure that out. Or, the developer can weasel out the use of that ability all together by putting an invisible fire damage layer at the levitate height. The former doesn't bother me, the latter annoys me to no end.

 

I've run across this twice in NWN2 now. I'm outside Ammon Jerro's haven and I need to get some water from a geyser. I read the lead in and it states that you need to be careful of the acid. What do I do? Why I have the gith cast Energy Immunity: Acid of course. What happens? I step in, 60 damage from "Acid (Magical)". I smell a weasel!

 

Please don't do this sort of thing in PE. It's not challenging, it just gives me one more reason to think that non-DPS spells simply aren't worth keeping memorized. I mean, if it isn't going to work when I stop and think, "oh yea, I have a tool for that." Nope, sorry... that tool doesn't work as it makes it too easy. Really? Then why bother giving me tools at all? And, expecting me to waste slots on them if they're just going to get dodged by the code every time I realize one of them might be useful?

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Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. - Julius Caesar

 

:facepalm: #define TRUE (!FALSE)

I ran across an article where the above statement was found in a release tarball. LOL! Who does something like this? Predictably, this oddity was found when the article's author tried to build said tarball and the compiler promptly went into cardiac arrest. If you're not a developer, imagine telling someone the literal meaning of up is "not down". Such nonsense makes computers, and developers... angry.

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Whenever outsmarting the game is punished, that's bad game design. So I'm completely with you on this one.

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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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One of the funniest moments in KotOR 2 was going into the alien bar with an atmosphere hostile to humans. You were told that just wearing a gas mask wouldn't be enough - you'd actually have to get a space suit. Eventually, for reasons of plot, the PC has to run in there sans space suit and promptly collapses until your mentor teaches you a special jedi breathing power thing that if you kept using would prevent the atmosphere from being harmful.

 

However, the way they represented the effect of the atmosphere in-game if you didn't use the technique was by constant poison damage. The gas mask item (which you would probably have at least one of because you needed it earlier) gave you immunity to poison damage. So the gas mask that wouldn't protect you protected you entirely.

 

I seriously loved KotOR 2, but that was one of the most ridiculous things ever.

 

On a more literal note, we need more weasels in gaming. Or perhaps ferrets. Just some kind of mustelidae, dammit!

Edited by TheTeaMustFlow
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`This is just the beginning, Citizens! Today we have boiled a pot who's steam shall be seen across the entire galaxy. The Tea Must Flow, and it shall! The banner of the British Space Empire will be unfurled across a thousand worlds, carried forth by the citizens of Urn, and before them the Tea shall flow like a steaming brown river of shi-*cough*- shimmering moral fibre!` - God Emperor of Didcot by Toby Frost.

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I've run across this twice in NWN2 now. I'm outside Ammon Jerro's haven and I need to get some water from a geyser. I read the lead in and it states that you need to be careful of the acid. What do I do? Why I have the gith cast Energy Immunity: Acid of course. What happens? I step in, 60 damage from "Acid (Magical)". I smell a weasel!

 

SoI think that sometimes developers simply don't take oddball things into account while designing the game. The players may come up with solutions that the developers hadn't thought of. It's not necessarily intentional on their part.

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I've run across this twice in NWN2 now. I'm outside Ammon Jerro's haven and I need to get some water from a geyser. I read the lead in and it states that you need to be careful of the acid. What do I do? Why I have the gith cast Energy Immunity: Acid of course. What happens? I step in, 60 damage from "Acid (Magical)". I smell a weasel!

 

SoI think that sometimes developers simply don't take oddball things into account while designing the game. The players may come up with solutions that the developers hadn't thought of. It's not necessarily intentional on their part.

I assume quest and mechanic designs come from different teams, which means it's possible there wasn't cross-communication to catch these inconsistencies. (Reminds me a bit of Apollo 13's command module vs. lunar module CO2 scrubber debacle... except game devs then seek ways to rip out legitimate things that would benefit the player for the sake of dramatic storytelling.) Due to the size of such games and the many people involved, these things should be caught with good beta testing.

 

Edit: These things should be caught by QA earlier, but also dev leaders should make the hard decisions to cut content that doesn't work for the stated reasons. 

 

"Sunken costs" is a terrible excuse.

Edited by Ieo

The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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I assume quest and mechanic designs come from different teams, which means it's possible there wasn't cross-communication to catch these inconsistencies. (Reminds me a bit of Apollo 13's command module vs. lunar module CO2 scrubber debacle... except game devs then seek ways to rip out legitimate things that would benefit the player for the sake of dramatic storytelling.) Due to the size of such games and the many people involved, these things should be caught with good beta testing.

 

:biggrin: There's quite a bit of size and scope difference there. I mean, you're talking tens to hundreds of thousands of people across one agency and at least 3 major defense contractors vs a game studio of a couple of hundred max; most of which are probably split up between different games entirely.

 

I will concede that it may not have been intentional. But, if it was... it was a nasty bit of weaseling.

Edited by Luridis

Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. - Julius Caesar

 

:facepalm: #define TRUE (!FALSE)

I ran across an article where the above statement was found in a release tarball. LOL! Who does something like this? Predictably, this oddity was found when the article's author tried to build said tarball and the compiler promptly went into cardiac arrest. If you're not a developer, imagine telling someone the literal meaning of up is "not down". Such nonsense makes computers, and developers... angry.

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The most common, simple form of this is the invisible wall. You know... "Oh noes, a tree has fallen across the path here! It's like... THREE feet tall! You can even jump, and your entire party are ninjas, because that's how the game's programmed, but since we don't want you to be able to go in the direction that tree fell, YOU SIMPLY CANNOT! We COULD'VE just made the tree bigger, or had a big chunk of rock fall or something, or put a pit there too big to leap across... but we took the time to animate a 3-foot thick falling tree! 8D"

 

Or, when you're searching around in areas with a lot of small things on the floor, and SOMEtimes you can get all the way to walls/bookshelves/drawers, etc. and you even find important things in them. But then, 50% of the time, that tiny, half-a-foot pile of books/debris on the floor keeps you from getting to half of the room's square-footage. *siiiiigh*

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I assume quest and mechanic designs come from different teams, which means it's possible there wasn't cross-communication to catch these inconsistencies. (Reminds me a bit of Apollo 13's command module vs. lunar module CO2 scrubber debacle... except game devs then seek ways to rip out legitimate things that would benefit the player for the sake of dramatic storytelling.) Due to the size of such games and the many people involved, these things should be caught with good beta testing.

 

:biggrin: There's quite a bit of size and scope difference there. I mean, you're talking tens to hundreds of thousands of people across one agency and at least 3 major defense contractors vs a game studio of a couple of hundred max; most of which are probably split up between different games entirely.

 

I will concede that it may not have been intentional. But, if it was... it was a nasty bit of weaseling.

Actually, I've seen broken communications between groups within companies of less than 100 workers and still within the same group in the same physical proximity. My point is merely that the moment design and development is split up among multiple groups, there are multiple points of potential failure, not matter how small.  ;)

 

But beyond that, if they go through with it knowing about the inconsistency, that's just crappy design.

Edited by Ieo

The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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Withered and broken doors you can't go through without the key, even though a small gust of wind would break.

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Easy.

Make an [invisible Wall God] (who kills you when you go towards that direction, that should teach players that "Invisible Wall" is not something to joke about :p), and make a [Waist Height Fence God] as well.

Conceptually, tie in some Lore+Quests and you wouldn't even know that the [invisible Wall] is in fact an [invisible Wall]. Instead of "You can't go this way" you could get "Here's a Quest for you".

On the Energy Immunity: Acid, I've run across that a couple of times in times past, jRPG, console RPG and cRPG. The Protective Spell not working when you really need it is "quite common". I think it might be because the specific enemy has been given a "Copy+Paste" spell which is supposed to deal damage, or else it gets too easy for the Player. I think I've encountered the "Entering Area Fully Protected" but still take damage (Walking on Lava or whatnot, thought it'd be O.K. but I guess not).

With "Energy Immunity: Acid" you can go past it as if it isn't there, and I shake my head every time I encounter something similar, but I understand why as well.

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What does that mean?  I've run across this twice in NWN2 now. I'm outside Ammon Jerro's haven and I need to get some water from a geyser. I read the lead in and it states that you need to be careful of the acid. What do I do? Why I have the gith cast Energy Immunity: Acid of course. What happens? I step in, 60 damage from "Acid (Magical)". I smell a weasel! 

 

 

One of the funniest moments in KotOR 2 was going into the alien bar with an atmosphere hostile to humans.  

 

These both, yeah.

 

KotOR2 especially, as they warned about the atmosphere I turned around and got that holy Gasmask of Complete Protection... and promptly collapsed and was called an idiot for being so stupid. And about a minute earlier or later that chick used another gas to knock me out, again bypassing the gasmask.

 

NWN2, I played it twice and I think both times were the same. I'd run 2 feet and collapse, get up and collapse, get up and collapse, move 3 feet and collapse. While the companions stood around outside the danger zone sighing heavily. And I did have protection from acid in place.

 

Just let me waltz through effortlessly rather than finding ways to outsmart me. Players like it when their clever ideas work.

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I don't mean to be the contrarian, but honestly I'd like to see designers more concerned with restricting loot (so that you simply can't acquire that uber game-breaking gas mask so easily), rather than allowing players ways to slip through loopholes ("I SO CLEVAH, LEMME THRU!"). I sort of understand the frustration, but for me the source of the problem is that many games these days are saturated with unbalancing gear and equipment.

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^What he said. And a ton more of it too but for another thread. A lootless system would be great.

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:w00t:  Osvir and that player punishment... Pretty soon will be talking about your party sitting in the stocks for a real hour for an ill chosen dialogue response.

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Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. - Julius Caesar

 

:facepalm: #define TRUE (!FALSE)

I ran across an article where the above statement was found in a release tarball. LOL! Who does something like this? Predictably, this oddity was found when the article's author tried to build said tarball and the compiler promptly went into cardiac arrest. If you're not a developer, imagine telling someone the literal meaning of up is "not down". Such nonsense makes computers, and developers... angry.

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No, Luridis, you misunderstand.

EDIT: And you're reading into that word too much... so could you stop doing that?

Edited by Osvir

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I don't mean to be the contrarian, but honestly I'd like to see designers more concerned with restricting loot (so that you simply can't acquire that uber game-breaking gas mask so easily), rather than allowing players ways to slip through loopholes ("I SO CLEVAH, LEMME THRU!"). I sort of understand the frustration, but for me the source of the problem is that many games these days are saturated with unbalancing gear and equipment.

While I can agree with this sentiment, this isn't what Luridis is talking about. He's not talking about uber loot. He's talking about character abilities/powers that are part of the game system.

 

Using an ability your character has (i.e an immunity to acid spell to avoid acid damage) in order to get through a situation isn't slipping through loopholes. It's assessing the challenge and looking at your resources to find a solution, which should be rewarded, not thwarted in a completely illogical way.

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As an interesting add-on to the anecdote about the acid bit in NWN2, they didn't totally weasel out of that one. I played an aasimar in NWN2, and I got a special little dialogue box thing reflecting my racial acid resistance.


jcod0.png

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Playing The Witcher 1 again and just buffed up for the first boss battle - so after a cutscene all my buffs are removed.  Good thing I knew the secret handshake and prepared the line of spells necessary to kill the boss in 1 hit though... as opposed to (you know) playing the game as a witcher.

 

I think Josh Sawyer and Tim Cain are pretty in favour of the game being in the boundaries of player skills; at least from what I've interpreted from updates, etc.

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No, Luridis, you misunderstand.

 

EDIT: And you're reading into that word too much... so could you stop doing that?

 

Sorry guy... I was actually just kidding. Didn't mean for it to actually bother you.


Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. - Julius Caesar

 

:facepalm: #define TRUE (!FALSE)

I ran across an article where the above statement was found in a release tarball. LOL! Who does something like this? Predictably, this oddity was found when the article's author tried to build said tarball and the compiler promptly went into cardiac arrest. If you're not a developer, imagine telling someone the literal meaning of up is "not down". Such nonsense makes computers, and developers... angry.

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I don't mean to be the contrarian, but honestly I'd like to see designers more concerned with restricting loot (so that you simply can't acquire that uber game-breaking gas mask so easily), rather than allowing players ways to slip through loopholes ("I SO CLEVAH, LEMME THRU!"). I sort of understand the frustration, but for me the source of the problem is that many games these days are saturated with unbalancing gear and equipment.

While I can agree with this sentiment, this isn't what Luridis is talking about. He's not talking about uber loot. He's talking about character abilities/powers that are part of the game system.

 

Using an ability your character has (i.e an immunity to acid spell to avoid acid damage) in order to get through a situation isn't slipping through loopholes. It's assessing the challenge and looking at your resources to find a solution, which should be rewarded, not thwarted in a completely illogical way.

I realize he's not intending to make a point about loot, but... you have to wonder- if loot can be so game-breaking that the developers have to resort to illogical methods of restricting players- maybe saturation with unbalanced loot is part of the problem. If the improvement of magical equipment through game progression wasn't such an integral part of every RPG then we'd probably run into this situation a lot less. Yes, I'm against railroading and all that, but I don't think that's the root of the problem here.

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^ The imbalance of loot isn't the problem in the given example scenarios. The problem is short-cutting. It's a matter of "Crap... that acid works exactly like it's supposed to, and that anti-acid spell does too, but I don't want you to be able to avoid damage here... instead of changing the source of the damage to something that I haven't coded a protection spell for, I'll just make this PARADOXICAL acid. It is both acid, AND not-acid, u_u. You don't have a spell that protects against paradoxical acid... PROBLEM SOLVED! *dusts off hands*"

 

So, I would argue that railroading is not only the root of the problem, but also the seed from which that root sprang forth. "The problem" being specifically the one being pointed out the most in this thread.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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"Weaseling out of things is important to learn.  It's what separates us from the animals... except the weasel."

 

The grandfather of all of these, at least for me, is the unpickable, unbreakable, magically sealed door in some utterly mundane location.  The unjumpable 2-foot high fence is a close cousin.

 

I'm willing to suspend disbelief if it makes the game fun, so these usually don't bother me too much.  If they are going to take the time to code-away some ability, though, it should at least be worth a hand-waving explanation for why that ability doesn't work.  Then I'll play along.  (Probably harder to retrofit in with so much dialogue now voice-acted.)

 

 

I realize he's not intending to make a point about loot, but... you have to wonder- if loot can be so game-breaking that the developers have to resort to illogical methods of restricting players- maybe saturation with unbalanced loot is part of the problem. If the improvement of magical equipment through game progression wasn't such an integral part of every RPG then we'd probably run into this situation a lot less. Yes, I'm against railroading and all that, but I don't think that's the root of the problem here.

 

I think it's specialized items more than 'unbalanced' loot.  I recall NWN2 also had a 'see hidden things' veil they gave you for one plot reason, it would have been very useful just a bit later in the game.  If it worked as advertised, which it didn't.

 

People writing later quests presumably don't know what goodies you ended up with in the previous one.  They could try to do garbage clean-up routinely, I suppose, so when you finish a quest the plot-specific vanishes (e.g., when the veil is "exposed to sunlight" or something.)  But would probably cause more quest-breaking bugs to slip by.

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I'm willing to suspend disbelief if it makes the game fun, so these usually don't bother me too much.  If they are going to take the time to code-away some ability, though, it should at least be worth a hand-waving explanation for why that ability doesn't work.  Then I'll play along.  (Probably harder to retrofit in with so much dialogue now voice-acted.)

Yeah, heh. The thing is, I'd much rather have something that doesn't even seem to immediately make sense in the forest (some giant stone hand holding a giant stone teacup) that's NEVER explained, ever, blocking my path than a 2-foot diameter fallen tree. Sure, a tree fits in the forest, but the idea that I can't traverse a 2-foot-tall obstacle is FAR less believable than the idea that the hand of a giant tea-drinking likeness statue somehow made its way into this forest and I simply don't have the information as to why.

 

Hell, if it needs to be a tree, just make it a ginormous tree. I'm not gonna say "WAIIIIT a minute... *takes some soil samples*... would THAT species of tree REALLY be growing in such a mild climate with this much iron in the soil? They REALLY should've had a much smaller tree here, one that I could easily traverse, but at the same time was incapable of traversing, u_u..."

 

I don't care WHY it's so big. I don't even need to know. Same thing with 2-foot streams. I don't care if swimming's not in the game... I can EASILY jump that! SO easily! If you don't want me to wonder why I can't jump it, make it a 15-foot stream.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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