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What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game?

Postby RenatoDias » Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:12 pm

Guys, I've been trying my hand on a full game(having built a entire universe around) now, having re-picked ADRIFT and, I would like to know from you guys. What do you consider a hard/tough game to beat?
I'm developing a kind of survival horror game a bit based on the Give Yourself Goosebumps(which I read as a kid and still have the books).
Plot:
"A young girl goes to explore an Aquarium, which is abandoned on the current game time, but it was full of life when she was a child. In her knowledge, there could be clues to why the Aquarium closed. Little does she know what dangers expect her there..."
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby Po. Prune » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:29 am

You're asking a very tough question there, and you'll probably get as ,any different answers as there are people playing IF.
Are you asking for a game title that we think is a tough game, or are you speaking in general?
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby RenatoDias » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:38 pm

You're asking a very tough question there, and you'll probably get as ,any different answers as there are people playing IF.
Are you asking for a game title that we think is a tough game, or are you speaking in general?

I am speaking in general, in regards to puzzle complexity(if complex puzzles make the game harder to beat), or instant deaths(like going into a room without a certain item[happens in my game]), or the number of bad endings(death scenes in my game) being way higher than good endings(when you beat the game). Because, as I think, just the higher number of bad endings(death possibilities) and instant deaths make the game tougher.
For me:
Tougher games mean you have to be more careful about your choices.
Harder games mean that their puzzles are tricky/complex to solve.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Going into a room where there may be a dragonfly flying around by yourself without a protection item(repellent), means you will get stung and die.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Or, going into a room where a walrus is awake, you should be very careful not to be dashed on.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Going inside a room you may know there is something dangerous, and the door out locks down.
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby Po. Prune » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:09 pm

One thing... You have to be very, very careful about instant death. If you have people walk into a chamber without a certain item without giving them some kind of warning. Your game isn't going to be played for long.
Complexity? Well that's a different matter. I'm ok with a "hard" game as long as the puzzles are logical and I have a chance to solve them without having to run all the way back to the beginning to pick up an obscure item.

But I'm sure that both Lazzah, and David has a thing or two to say about this.
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby David Whyld » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:00 pm

I don't have a problem with instant death in games, provided the author hasn't done anything silly like disabling saving the game or undo. Instant death isn't actually an issue if all the player has to do to get out of it is type "undo".
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby Lazzah » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:15 pm

The thing about instance death - at least in ADRIFT - is that it is now irrelevant simply because of the UNDO command.
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby RenatoDias » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:38 pm

Why is disabling UNDO such a bad thing? That's what save game is for.

I know people forget to save the game, but still, saving should be one thing a adventure game player can not forget

One thing... You have to be very, very careful about instant death. If you have people walk into a chamber without a certain item without giving them some kind of warning. Your game isn't going to be played for long.

Do adventure players read files? Because there will be some files on how to avoid certain deaths, such as the dragonfly death. And also, a hiding system will be implemented in the game, as well as a already implemented enemy sleep/wake system. And the game will warn the player if the enemy is about to wake up.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
In the Squid tank(last room before the boss room[stage]), you can either swim in it while the Squid is asleep, hide if it wakes up, OR go through the second floor of the tank, completely avoiding death.

I plan to have two difficulty modes, EASY, which will be more relaxed, but no access to the perfect ending and HARD, which will be tough, but as compensation, the player will have access to the perfect ending, as long as he qualifies for it(does the necessary tasks).

I plan to allow UNDO on easy, but disallow it on hard mode. On hard, the player will have to trust his instincts and save in the right places(not save after a death), as well as read the warnings and files about the animals and locations.
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby David Whyld » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:55 pm

Disabling UNDO just annoys players. It's one of those things people like to put in their games from time to time - like mazes - and they always have a hundred and one perfectly valid reasons for why its inclusion is a great thing. But - like mazes - it's something most players don't like and it seldom goes down well.
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby RenatoDias » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:15 pm

Sorry to say, guys, but what's the point to have such a challenge if we can undo after a mistake?

Deaths are supposed to cause an effect on the player(of course, just logic ones, not absurd or unwarned).
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby Po. Prune » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:40 am

David is right. In the end it all comes down to making a game that people wants to play and talk about (long) afterwards)
If there are things, like mazes or silly instant deaths, that irritates people why put it in your game?
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby Duncan_B » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:00 am

Hi, Renata! I loved the Give Yourself Goosebumps books as a kid. Are you inspired by the one where you get lost in a zoo? I think it had an alligator on the cover... or was that in a circus? Was there one that was in an aquarium? I kinda remember the one where you got turned into a fly, too. They had choices less often than some of the best CYOAs, but often more than the worst. They had their own unique voice, too, which was great if you maybe didn't want to read Edward Packard or Ray Montgomery all day every day.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
(And still fun if you like them, too.)


As to the question, there are two kinds of hard. One is "just hard"-- frustrating, boring, pointless. The other is "challenging." The Interactive Fiction cruelty scale is useful for telling how a player might be frustrated at a certain "death." Different writers treat death or the abrupt end of the game in different ways. Context is usually more important than the end itself in telling if a puzzle is "challenging" or "just hard." That is, I think that when a bad end happens is more important than if it happens. Remember, dying doesn't have to be a bad ending for the player, either! In some games, dying or trying to kill the main character is the whole point. Looking at D.W. here.

I would say leave out "just hard" stuff unless the game uses an overload of death or sudden endings deliberately. "Bureaucracy" was deliberately funny-- a game about being frustrated by unnecessary, arbitrary restrictions. Even with a hilarious and capable author (Douglas Adams), the writing still wore thin quickly when it was clear that an ending was arbitrary. "Aisle" ends the game immediately all the time (only lasts one turn), but the player can discover more about the plot or plots of its world by exploring a single moment or memory. "Shrapnel" treats death differently-- if you liked Goosebumps, you'd probably like it so I won't spoil the secret if you haven't played it. When I played "Because You're Mine"...
[Reveal] Spoiler:
the death from walking into the swamp seemed so sudden that I didn't think it was even possible to get there... and when I found the alternative ending I thought it was the real one. Ha!


I think for most players, instant death is fine as long as they can undo and they don't die too often. If a sudden ending happens for a reasonable cause and the player can learn something from it, I think it becomes more agreeable (instead of frustrating). I don't mean to say a player can't be frustrated-- good puzzles or challenges can frustrate even long time players, but they don't do it needlessly.

I agree that most of the time to not allow undo is a bad idea. So do (I think) most players, who want more or less to be free to navigate between the puzzling or challenging parts of a game. But there is at least one solution to the player being able to "undo" things that I know, even when unlimited use of "undo" is allowed.

Sometimes you can block "undo" in a specific context to keep a player from getting their desired result. In "Yon Astounding Castle! of some sort" (ADRIFT 4) the player can undo at any time, but if the player types "undo" immediately after the goblin steals a treasure item, then the game will tell the player that if they really "undo" and steal back their treasure, they will lose "undo" for the rest of the game because of a curse. They get a Yes or No choice where the only responses that the game will understand are Yes or No. Most players realize it's not worth the trade; they will say "no" and surrender the treasure to keep undo.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
(Of course, clever players can get their treasure back if they can reach the Takery)
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby David Whyld » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:15 am

RenatoDias wrote:Sorry to say, guys, but what's the point to have such a challenge if we can undo after a mistake?

Deaths are supposed to cause an effect on the player(of course, just logic ones, not absurd or unwarned).


What effect does it have if the player can simply reload from a previous saved game position whenever he wants?

At the end of the day, you can write the game however you like. You can disable SAVE and UNDO, include a 300 room maze, kill the player off without warning, include really hard puzzles, hunger daemons, time-based puzzles, randomised combat, etc, etc, but at some point you have to stop and ask yourself "is any of this actually going to be fun for the player?"
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby RenatoDias » Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:57 pm

I plan to do a Resident Evil-like survival horror game. And I haven't disabled UNDO yet for it. I want to do many things with it, such as:

->Health bar/LifeBar, made of five(3 in hard) units, which decreases every time you enter a room with a enemy creature, and after a decrease, you gain 30 seconds(15 seconds on HARD) of immunity.
->Medipacks, which can heal your character up, and as any survival horror, they will be a little hard to find, the probability will be connected to the difficulty level chosen on the intro room.
->Hardcore(EXTREME SURVIVAL) mode: you play a harder game, with very limited saves(SAVING BY SAVE CODES). One mistake is game over.
->Fixed save locations, the player will be able to save in a few locations, and will be alerted when he/she is in a save spot/location.
->No Undo(added all the above, why have an UNDO?)[PLANNED].
*The game will come configured on NORMAL/MEDIUM difficulty*

Discarded ideas:
->Revive system, would give you 30 seconds of immunity each time you enter a room with a enemy.(obsolete due to the lifebar system)**
->Hiding system, you could use the command "hide/HIDE" to hide yourself on the nearest cover spot.(obsolete due to the lifebar system)
**Revive was made of Resuscitation Packs(Resusc Packs), which had to be picked up. If you had none, it would be game over**

What do you guys think of these?
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby Duncan_B » Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:03 am

It would be easier to discuss if you had a working example. Are you still writing in 3.9?
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Re: What would you guys consider a harder, or a tougher game

Postby RenatoDias » Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:36 am

I'm using ADRIFT v5, the most recent build, Duncan.
I don't have an working example because this new one isn't yet started, I'm still planning it.
But, I think it can work with a lifebar system due to the variables and events.
I want to make it feel like a text-based survival horror game, that's why I plan to remove undo and placing fixed save locations, but add something more so the player wouldn't feel cheated, that's why I came up with the Lifebar and Resusc Packs ideas.
Trading the Undo system for a lifebar(5 units) seems like a good thing, doesn't it?

Thanks for any replies and your opinions in the thread, guys. Keep'em coming.
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