"Don't go here yet." or Extremely Blatant Roadblocks

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by kirbwarrior, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. L.W. Flouisa

    L.W. Flouisa NumeroHex Veteran

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    You could do it all goofy like, and plop a giant pink cat in your way. And you have to fight the pink floofy cat like lizard if you want to get past the road block. (I prefer to keep it as a summon.)
     
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  2. GLM

    GLM ブラッドシェド © 1989 POLOCOM Member

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    In my game the capital city of the Central Authority (Belhern) is a walled fortress city you can visit the outskirts of early on, but are not permitted to enter the city proper until much later. The idea being that you will be curious and look forward to when you have access to the advanced gunsmiths and stuff.

    It's a literal "you can't go here" situation, but they're not always bad.
     
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  3. encapturer

    encapturer Veteran Veteran

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    1) In a plot&characters RPG, if the character doesn't want to go somewhere new yet, we don't go there yet. If they do want to go somewhere but they can't, the reason generally has to be seen as something the character wants to solve. (i.e. "This guy won't let me through. What can I do to persuade him? Is there another path around?) Even if the character doesn't actually pass this type of block until much later in the game, it still should be tied to plot.

    2) In more freeform RPGs, if you really don't want the player to be someplace until later - tie it to some sort of powerup. You can let them try, but they will fail in a way that is much better than an invisible wall. Otherwise, use difficulty as a soft roadblock ("BeefGate") - it may be a freeform RPG, but it doesn't have to be easy.
     
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  4. ave36

    ave36 Veteran Veteran

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    I, too, prefer adequately explained roadblocks. Examples from the first part of my game: a garrisoned gate on a road, manned by priests and inquisitors, blockading the road due to a plague and a witch hunt in progress; a ferry that does not work due to that same plague for quarantine reasons; a mountain pass guarded by a soldier who says there was an avalanche and the only bridge over a chasm collapsed; a harbormaster saying that no, there are currently no outbound ships from the island of Blanchion; two wizard guards watching over the door to a mage tower and not letting you in because you are not yet a member of their fellowship.
     
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  5. M.I.A.

    M.I.A. Goofball Extraordinaire Veteran

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    I guess it all depends on how it's done.. Here's a prime example of a good one: :)
    [​IMG]

    **EDIT**
    Sorry mods!! I think I just necroposted... >_<
     

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  6. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

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    Golden Sun has the simultaneous best and worst roadblocks. If I recall correctly, there's a guard who basically says he wants to let you pass, but he won't. It's actually kind of silly to think this guard is so bored that he just decides that no one can cross or he does it to feel like he has some amount of power.
     
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  7. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    It's even sillier to think that a group of monster-slaying, world-saving, Level 43 adventurers can't just pick him up off the ground, spike him back onto said ground like Rob Gronkowski spiking a football, and march past him (to where they feel they need to go) while spouting a witty quip. This kind of "game-enforced" Extremely Blatant Roadblock really pisses me off as a player!!

    I think the reason I hate this type of thing so much is because it doesn't even let me try to pretend that I'm actually adventuring through a world and solving problems - it rubs it in my face that I'm just going through the hoops to get through the designer's Plot Flag.

    You're fine! Posting in a "Support Topic" after 30 days since the last post is usually a Necro, but "Discussion Topics" like these tend to be more evergreen so you get more latitude. My rule of thumb for Discussion Topics is anything under 6 months old is perfectly OK, and beyond 6 months I'll judge it on a case-by-case basis - if it adds a lot to the discussion, it's OK even after 6 months. Also, "Resource Threads" are usually OK to post in no matter how much time has passed if you have something to say, since it won't confuse anyone (and resource makers generally appreciate it!).
     
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  8. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

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    I get that, but then I also feel the DQ rule might apply here, where attacking humans just doing their job isn't allowed no matter the circumstances.
     
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  9. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    Just hum the beginning of the random encounter theme and THEN attack them! It's always OK to kill people in a random encounter!
     
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  10. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

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    I think that makes you the random encounter, on to which killing them will just send them to church. So... it checks out.
     
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  11. Oddball

    Oddball Veteran Veteran

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    You could use actual roadblocks :p
    roadblocks.png


    Edit: In all seriousness though. Why not just design your game where there are multipule objectives in different locations and the player can pick which order they want to do them in?
     
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  12. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

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    You absolutely can do that, but then you're heading into open world territory and all the issues and work that requires. Roadblocks are set up for various reasons (the most common I remember are blocking off later areas until you get there as according to the story).

    As on the nose as your example is (it's great), there can be a good reason for it.
     
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  13. Oddball

    Oddball Veteran Veteran

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    Here is an example of a stupid roadblock. In real life, you could go in anyway, even if it was dark
    Stupid_roadblock.png
     
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  14. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Zork did it better.

    "It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue." And, if you proceeded anyway... "You've been eaten by a Grue." Game over.
     
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  15. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    So while it's not exactly the same, I remember that Final Fantasy 3 forces you to obtain and equip special boots to avoid sinking in a Swamp dungeon. I believe you are told this at a roadblock well before you ever get to the Swamp, but aren't reminded as you try to enter. I got the boots (not realizing I also needed to equip them on a character - I thought they were a Key Item), touched the Swamp on the world map, saw a little cutscene... and boom, game over. I hadn't saved for about an hour!! Needless to say, I was furious, and it was weeks before I picked the game back up. It's clever, and it's one of the best examples of terrible game design that I have ever seen.

    I'm one of the biggest anti-roadblock guys on this forum, but if a game is just going to "allow" me to do something and automatically throw an non-negotiable game over in my face for doing it, even I would prefer the roadblock! At least I won't have to replay the last hour of the game.

    Granted, it sounds like the Grue example is a direct warning in both senses (place and time), and there aren't any unexpected mechanics like Equipping something. (Also, Zork being a text-based adventure game, there's probably much more expectation that instant death can happen with any decision you make.) It doesn't sound nearly as bad as FF3 for those reasons. But I wouldn't want anything like the Grue outside of an instadeath-loving adventure game. Because in any other genre I'd likely read that warning as a "fair challenge" - that I will have to win some battle or action challenge if I proceed to avoid being eaten by a Grue, making it likely (not certain) that I will be eaten! Much like how the rival alligator in Banjo-Kazooie would eat (and kill) you if you took on the bonus Yumblies-eating minigame and lost. You're warned upfront, but the warning is for a very risky bonus challenge, not for walking into a game over.
     
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  16. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @Wavelength

    I like the example in Zork for a few reasons:

    1. You are warned about it the instant you try to enter a Pitch Black area without some form of light emitting item (torches, matches, etcetera).
    2. You are killed instantly if you decide to press on, despite the warning. This means you aren't killed partway through the dark area... you aren't playing a "luck based mission".

    I didn't even know about the Zork version of it until I'd ran across the "ADOM (Ancient Domains of Mystery)" version of it. In ADOM, if you become "Cursed", which is pretty difficult to know how to do (it's a rogue-like. In rogue-like tradition, you are told pretty much nothing and have to learn through thousands of deaths) and then enter into a dark room without a light source, you get the same message: "It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue". If you take a step into the darkness into that game... the game rolls for a chance to be eaten.

    This is worse than Zork for a couple reasons.
    1. The game doesn't tell you what a Grue is and since it is an RPG, you immediately assume you could run away from it if it appears, since it is likely insanely powerful to eat you (especially in a game where all the enemies are on screen).
    2. If you're like me and the first step into darkness doesn't kill you... you're likely to assume it's a bit of flavor text or something. Sometimes, the game just tells you things that have little meaning ("As you enter the room, a spectral skull appears before you and laughs before vanishing in a puff of smoke." Literally means nothing. It is just flavor text. No modifier to the room, unlike other stuff like, "The room smells of carrots", which tells you that you can gain high Perception if you drink carrot juice in the room). So, you take another step. And another. And another. Then, you're out the other side of the room. It reinforces your thought that, "It's just flavor text". Until you hit your third dark room... die instantly... and realize you've just been getting insanely lucky with the hidden dice rolls up to that point.

    I actually looked up what a Grue was when I first played ADOM and was eaten by one, just to see if there was anything I could've done. The wiki told me, "nope, you're cursed without a light source. There's an X% chance to be eaten for every turn you spend in the darkness while cursed. The Grue is a reference to the old text based adventure game of Zork in which the player was required to solve any light-based puzzle before doing the main puzzle in the room. The Grue was an enforcement mechanic to keep players from just stumbling through the solution without a light source." Apparently, in the early Zork series, you could stumble through the puzzles of pitch black rooms without lighting a torch, and pass the rooms anyway. It was fixed in sequels and gave you an instant-death if you didn't solve the darkness properly.

    The execution may be a bit messy for an RPG, but I think the concept holds up well. It is a roadblock in that if you proceed without the proper equipment or preparedness... you die. RPG's already engage in this concept sometimes. Not prepared for the boss? Be prepared to waste several minutes in combat... struggling... only to die and realize you need some levels or equipment.

    I'm a bit more forgiving on "instant death" mechanics in many games today. Mostly because of the nearly universal "save anywhere, save anytime" mechanic of most games these days. I've had enough issues in games that don't auto-save, that I tend to save pretty frequently out of habit. So, dying instantly to your swamp probably wouldn't bother me all that much. If I were allowed to save anywhere, at anytime, I'd have probably saved upon entering the location... or clearing the last one... Or after a major plot beat (I save after most every cutscene and every boss fight. I also save after pretty much every chest I open and puzzle I solve. I'm more frequent with saves in Pokémon where I save before and after each Trainer Battle in case RNG hates me, or they're more overpowered than I am).

    So long as I'm allowed to save any and everywhere, I don't mind a roadblock that instantly kills me if I ignore the warning. I'm just used to saving constantly, so it wouldn't probably set me back much more than a few minutes. Though, I can understand the frustration in players who haven't been trained by thousands of games to save at every opportunity and after every single event they would rather not repeat were the game to glitch up, crash, or you die.
     
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  17. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    @Tai_MT Thanks for expounding on how it works; that's very interesting. I feel like what's better design and what's worse are being zig-zagged a lot in these examples (whereas you seem to think Zork's Grue mechanic is pretty good and ADOM's Grue mechanic is pretty bad the whole way through). I'll explain what I like and dislike about each, keeping in mind that personal tastes are definitely at play here:

    Full agreement here. The speed and "directness" of the feedback makes this much better than, say, the FF3 example I gave, and the importance of that can't be overstated.

    See, I actually think the "luck-based mission" can be a better mechanic than insta-death when you go somewhere that you are not supposed to go, because it at least presents a challenge or an adventure hook, even if it's not a particularly engaging one. You can pay the price for it, or you can feel like you got away with something. In return, you're losing the direct feedback about what you're supposed to do, so the designer should weigh it carefully, but honestly some of my fondest memories of FF9 were of taking obscure paths in dungeons that led to areas with significantly overleveled monsters, and then trying to hightail it out once I realized what I was in for, because the game essentially set up an intense situation and gave me the chance to save myself from dire straits.

    As imagineer Eddie Sotto likes to say, "Fear - Death = Fun"!

    With that said, there are certainly ways that ADOM could have done it better; I'll touch on those below.

    While a fascinating mechanic, on paper at least, I'd note here that being "Cursed" doesn't even line up in my mind with needing to "stay in the light". I can get there if I already know it, but it's not intuitive, and that's probably step one of where it went wrong. (And step two is divorcing the immediacy of losing your light from the eventual RNG death, unless the game tells you that your "Cursed" status could kill you whenever you're not near light - it sounds like ADOM doesn't tell you that.)

    Right on!

    Again, right on (and this is the issue I have with "a Grue is likely to eat you" for Zork). A well-made UI could be of great help here, for example using bold red text to emphasize text that describes game mechanics rather than just narrative/flavor text.

    Here, on paper at least, I actually prefer the earlier Zork's solution. Allowing the player to "stumble" through a room or puzzle (I assume this means you either couldn't see at all, or couldn't see certain set pieces) if they hadn't first solved the lighting puzzle essentially opens a second way around a puzzle you can't solve. If you can't solve the lighting puzzle, you can bypass it and take on a "harder" form of the room's main puzzle by not being able to see certain parts (granted, it's an onerous interface screw, but I think it's still nice to have the option). And if you can solve the lighting puzzle, you've made the room's main puzzle much easier, making it more likely you can solve that puzzle if the dark version has you confounded. With good design principles, this form of (each puzzle you solve makes others easier) can make for some awesome gameplay!

    The instant game over, on the other hand... eh. Like I said in my previous post, if it's non-negotiable, I'd prefer the hard roadblock instead. Same exact effect in practice, except that you don't risk forcing your player to re-do stuff they've already done.

    The devil is in the details, though. Games should challenge you, but the challenge shouldn't come in arbitrary forms. If an RPG's challenge has come from managing your resources, navigating dungeons, and fighting battles so far, then I feel it's bad and wrong to throw an instant game over for walking somewhere you're not supposed to. (I understand this is not a universal opinion. But it is a popular one.) As a rule of thumb, I believe that the further you diverge from the game's "usual" form of challenge, the more lenient you need to be about the consequences of failure.

    As a quick analogy, we can agree that if you walk into an exam in school unprepared, you have no one to blame but yourself if you make a bad grade on that exam. But if the teacher launches a pop quiz on you - and most of the questions on that pop quiz don't even deal with things that you've been learning in that class - then it's not your fault for being unprepared! It's the teacher's fault, for testing the wrong skills and for not setting expectations properly. Don't be the equivalent of that teacher as a game designer!

    For a JRPG, the "good" execution of punishment of ignoring a warning would probably be something like what FF9 did - frequent encounters with extremely powerful "Grue" monsters if you take on the dark area without a torch. Probably have some mechanic at play that makes it harder than usual to run away from combat, since "cheesing" the punishment by simply running from everything defeats the whole point. That helps get the point across quickly, gives a player who didn't understand your warning well the chance to turn back after the fact, lets an especially bold player venture on and face the consequences knowing they'd come, and even gives endgame players a fun experience coming back to slay Grues that once seemed impossible. A win-win all around!

    It did have a Save-Anywhere feature, but there were no other Instant Death spots beforehand (that I'm aware of) in the game, I had been wrecking all of the battles for a while, there was no indication a boss was coming soon, and (IIRC) the Instant Death cutscene triggered immediately upon entering the swamp from the world map, rather than after well-signposted transition zones. So I hadn't saved since defeating the last boss - there was no reason to, really. It came as an absolute blindside (and because I hadn't equipped this item of all things!), and I knew the next hour of my life that I'd spend with the game would be re-doing things I've already done without any variation - complete boredom. FF3 was that teacher. I believe you when you said you would have saved frequently, but I was presented with no compelling reason to keep interrupting my gameplay to do so.


    TL;DR Version: My opinion is that while obvious roadblocks are bad, they are still preferable to any form of automatic (non-negotiable) Instant Death. The comparison between Instant Death and "Challenges" for a player that ignores the game's warning can be tricky - Instant Death offers a more direct connection between the game over and the reason for it, whereas "Challenges" can potentially be the either the best form or worst form of punishment, depending on how well they are implemented and conveyed to the player.
     
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  18. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    This is probably my bias as a player speaking, so feel free to disregard it.

    I think it is far more frustrating to get halfway through a challenge before realizing you cannot tackle it... rather than being told immediately that you can't handle it.

    I hate the "hope" that I could succeed when it was never intended for me to do so... or where it's simply "very difficult" to succeed if I press forward anyway. As a gamer, this has lead me to wasting a lot of time for no reason other than the Game Dev in charge of design has given me just enough hope that makes me think I can beat the challenge if I just keep bashing my face against it.

    I hate this with a passion.

    I can't count the amount of times I've played an RPG, seen enemies far out of my depth, but I can do just enough damage, or avoid just enough damage that I think I just need to play a bit better. I need to cheese the game a little. I need to come up with a strategy to win. So, I waste a lot of deaths and time trudging forward through these high level areas... only to discover at some point, that I was never meant to be here at this stage in the game. You're talking to the guy who, during the Fallout 76 BETA... teamed up with two of his friends and killed a Level 50 Scorch Beast (the worst thing to fight in the game, massive bullet sponge, difficult to hit as it flies far away from you and launches attacks that pretty much always hit you) while we were Level 12. Anyone who has played that game knows we were being absolutely stupid.

    We killed the thing, after figuring out a way for us to take 0 damage while our other party member died 6,000 times over. We blew through a ton of ammo and health items. We killed it... and each of us got two levels out of it... and crap loot we couldn't even use that was higher level than us and once we got to those levels, it was worthless.

    In my experience, there's some player psychology at play in there. If we had known we'd have gotten very little in return for killing this enemy... for trudging along on "just enough hope to defeat it", would we still have done it? I don't think we would have. Well, my one friend might have just for "bragging rights" of killing the enemy at such a low level... doing something we knew of nobody else in the BETA having done.

    Put simply... the rewards don't really make the challenge feel worth it.

    Would I have tried to solve Zork's puzzle in the dark if the game let me? No. I don't get anything special for doing it. So, why bother? To brag I could? Who cares? It's a video game. Not even other gamers would've cared that I did it. Personal satisfaction in making my life harder for no other reason than I could? I mean, I could steer my car by using only my teeth if I want to make my life harder and more dangerous for no reason... but most people are going to think I'm an idiot for doing it. Especially if I smash my car into someone else.

    So, I think the "instant feedback" is far better than the "hope the player gradually understands they aren't meant to be here and don't take it to mean there's some wonderful treasure behind all this high level stuff..." mentality of dev design.

    But, again, this is probably my personal bias.

    How do you scale rewards for players who tackled the high level content at lower levels in comparison to the rewards of those who came back at the proper levels? Most devs don't do this. Or, if they do, it's scaled so terribly that no reward is ever worth the investment at any level.

    ADOM doesn't tell you what "Cursed" does to you. It's a rogue-like, after all. Here's the rundown of what it actually does: It fudges rolls against you. Every action you take, it rolls a penalty against you. It also has the fun side-effect of sometimes killing you via Grue if you step into a dark room without a light source. It does not take long to figure out how you get the status (it's the second and final Tier of it, I forget the name of the first tier), but you'll go pretty much forever without knowing what it does.

    The major issues with it in ADOM are:
    1. You are not told how to become Cursed, and thus how to avoid it.
    2. You are not told what being Cursed actually does to you.
    3. You are not told how to cure being Cursed.
    4. Stepping into the darkness while Cursed can sometimes randomly murder you with no recourse or explanation.

    I love ADOM, but it is also the reason I stopped playing "Rogue-likes". As in, the very real "the game kills you 5,000 times without you knowing why, until you manage to piece it together yourself" aspect of the genre.

    The distinct lack of signposting hurts the game, just like any other Rogue-like I've ever played.

    That being said, it is also signposted poorly in Zork… but Zork is that kind of game. It's almost like the "Sierra Adventure Games". You expect to die a lot. Repeatedly. With minor hints on what to do. You expect to have little recourse for your death.

    Does that make it better? I don't know. I mean, Dark Souls has that same exact issue with badly signposted deaths that I call "Noob Traps", in which they hit every single noob, but not the players who have already played this part of the game before (badly telegraphed, badly signposted, just the dev saying "F U" to the player, essentially), and yet the game is praised for its design and ease of deaths while also saying, "it relies on skill!".

    I'd wager "audience perception" as well as "built up goodwill" during the run of the game are a factor in such an instance.

    Yes, the "likely" part probably wouldn't be great design these days. The phrasing is very much a sign of its age as a game. Back when most games were super lethal to players, something saying "Likely" usually meant there was a good chance it was going to happen. With today's games though? Yeah, "likely" in a video game means something entirely different to us. It means there's a chance we won't die. It means we can affect the outcome even if we ignore the warning.

    It definitely needs to be signposted much better.

    However, I don't feel like what it does is all that bad. But, that's probably my personal bias on the issue.

    Zork, itself, was entirely text based. At least, as far as I know. The rooms were described to you. Without light... it would just tell you what you feel. At least, as far as my understanding of it goes. It's a game I've never played (before my time).

    I think the reason it was changed was because there really wasn't a "save system" in place. Or, maybe there was. I don't know. I assume not. So, if you died... back to the start of the game. If you had completed this puzzle and died afterwards... you could essentially skip it and solve it with the set of actions you already did... bypassing the light puzzle altogether. Essentially, cutting out a piece of content altogether.

    I don't want to debate whether or not it was a good idea to force players to do a completely arbitrary puzzle that would just cut down their playtime in getting back to where they were... But, I like the method they used to make the puzzle "no longer arbitrary".

    If you could solve the puzzle in the darkness, you didn't use up your light producing resources (lamps, candles, torches, matches, etcetera). However, if you had to solve the puzzle by producing light... you were guaranteed to use up the resources as had been intended.

    But, that's just my bias talking, to be honest. Zork is essentially a text-based puzzle game. The whole point is to solve all the puzzles and reach the end. Making the puzzles skippable seems like it goes against the core design decision of the game/genre itself.

    So, there's a roadblock that exists to make sure you solve all the puzzles, rather than skip them.

    I think it might depend heavily on what kind of game you're playing. In your example of Final Fantasy 3, it seems like this instant-death comes completely out of nowhere. Not only that, but it is never repeated. Essentially, it does not belong in the game as you have not taught your player about the mechanic or enforced the mechanic later in the game.

    But, if we play a Rogue-like... you're conditioned to just accept that you will die constantly until you figure the game out. The opening room and first enemy can kill you, quite easily, and reset your progress.

    It's a matter of what you've conditioned the player to expect in your game, in my opinion.

    I tend to agree with this sentiment. Instant-death should not come out of nowhere. Though, for the same token... do we really need roadblocks? It could be argued that you simply need stronger monsters beyond this path to ensure the player doesn't go there until they're meant to. Or... does a player really need to backtrack to a higher level area they were prevented from being in to start with? What for? Couldn't we have had better map design to prevent backtracking? Does this second path through this same forest really need to exist? Couldn't we just put it in another forest further on in the game, when the player is more likely to be able to tackle the challenge?

    I think the main thing a dev needs to do is justify why their roadblock needs to exist at all.

    As a small example from my own game:

    If my caves and other entrances weren't "invisible" to begin with, a player could go into areas and complete Quests... where they have no way to obtain the reward. See, my skills "level up", and you must do a quest to get their levels. You could, with enough skill or tactics or whatever... get to the end of a dungeon, free the trainer... and have no way to obtain the knowledge. My game checks to see if you have Level 3 skill before it will give you the Level 4 skill. The roadblock exists to prevent the player from stumbling on this location, fighting their way to the end, and then being unable to get the reward... so they have to come back and do it again later. It exists to preserve "game flow". I mean, there are other reasons it's blocked off besides what I listed, but it's an easy example (it's a detail I just don't really want to get into today).

    I think we should be asking, as devs, if our roadblocks really need to exist. Do you really have to block the road out of town? Why? Could it be tackled in a less immersion-breaking way?

    Most Roadblocks I've seen in video games could've been easily removed by just using clever map design... or by just deciding to make the section a bit more linear.

    This just runs up against my own personal bias again. I think I covered it up there in my post. I won't retread that ground in the interest of making my already massive post a little shorter.

    I have a friend who has that same mentality. "I'll save when I'm ready to quit". He loses a lot of progress in his games quite frequently... complains a lot about glitches and bugs too.

    I don't know, I just learned from the old SNES days to save constantly. The next badguy might beat me bloody and I lose several hours of progress. The game might glitch up. The power might go out. Something. Something might happen to my game. I don't want to do it again. So, I just save frequently. Thousands of games have pressed that behavior into me. Save often. Save after everything. Anything you do not want to do again, save immediately after doing it. Boss fights. Treasure at the end of a long hallway. Long Cutscene. Got to a new town. Left town. Got a new skill. Got a new party member. Bought stuff at the store. Crafted new equipment.

    I'm probably mean, but I laugh at my friend who hasn't learned this. I laugh at him for not considering saving as frequently as possible. He hasn't had thousands of games' worth of experience to draw from for a hundred good reasons to save. It hasn't been beaten into his skull yet. For me, it's just a matter of course. "Oh, I instantly died. Okay, I saved two minutes ago, let me reload and do something different".

    That being said... Yeah, it's signposted terribly. They should've probably reworked it to be a lot more forgiving.

    I tend to prefer traditional roadblocks. Can't go here yet 'cause you need the boat to cross the ocean. Or, you need the airship to cross the mountains. Or, you need the dynamite to blow a hole in the wall of the fortress to get in.

    A roadblock that makes sense and ties directly into your motivations as a player engaging with the story.

    I don't like Roadblocks that exist purely because the dev couldn't figure out a good way to keep you from bypassing the story... or the power curve.
     
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  19. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

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    What RPGs do I think is cool, with Beefgates that stop you from going forward until you can beat this encounter. I far prefer that to a random one-of instant death.

    I do like the 'instant kill, but puts you right back before you die' that some games do. Then it's a roadblock but can be more fun.

    The important part is the death not actually being a game over. I otherwise agree with you about the 'random instant game over' being a problem.

    I completely agree with this, but I feel it might also derail the thread if we dive too much into it. In the early days when some genres were made to be linear in the same fashion as books and other media, roadblocks let you block off future chapters while still allowing for exploration. But modern game design shows us we can have even linear games built completely differently from other media.
    Always have 2+ saves, save as often as the game allows. I learned that in probably the first year games had saving.
    I agree. Which actually brings me back around to my OP, where the characters themselves saying they don't want to go here unless they need/want to might actually work well.

    Now I wonder if there's a difference with required vs optional roadblocks. Is it actually bad if the reason you can't enter the casino to play minigames is blocked by a cat?
     
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  20. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    What if the reason you can't enter the casino to play games is because it's a shady place, you haven't proven you're some sort of criminal... or you just don't have a "player's membership card", since the place is so exclusive?

    Lots of better ways to handle that. It tells you what you need to have to come back, it's a roadblock that makes sense, and it gates you from presumably optional content that has no meaning at the moment you first run across it.
     
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