How do you make your game interesting to play?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Nutty171, May 9, 2017.

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  1. Nutty171

    Nutty171 Adept at ineptitude Veteran

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    Item finding is of course not a puzzle (unless there's a puzzle between you and the item), but boulder pushing not a puzzle? When playing Pokémon games, I love it when I get to boulder pushing, because it's fun to figure out how to do it. Admittedly, it's almost never difficult to solve, but it's puzzling nonetheless. It takes a bit of time to solve. What I do when I make boulder puzzles is add some kind of twist, such as you need to put the boulders on the buttons to get the spikes out of the way. I saw a boulder puzzle that used buttons and spikes, and it was amazing. Done right, boulder pushing is a puzzle. . . . Oh. I just realized when typing this that you may think of something different than I do when you hear boulder pushing. Obviously when you only need to push one boulder a couple tiles to move it out of your way, that is definitely not a puzzle. When I think boulder pushing, I think of multiple boulders that are all in the way of each other, and you need to push them around in a specific way to proceed.
     
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  2. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

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    This is a puzzle. You actually have to think and sometimes get creative to move forward.
    You know, I love ice-themed puzzles and dungeons in games. Pokemon has ice make it so you move until you hit something. Ice block moving can be incredibly fun. But someone was telling me that it's apparently uncommon to enjoy them.
     
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  3. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I found both versions of those boulder moving puzzles to be boring and immersion breaking. Just the question of, "why don't these stay moved?" shatters the immersion. Or, "Why hasn't this puzzle been solved before by all the other people who have ever come through here?". Moreover, I constantly wonder who resets these puzzles and how they manage to do it.

    These are the sorts of puzzles I just go grab a guide for. ^_^ Tedium personified.

    But, that's just me.
     
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  4. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

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    Why don't they stay moved? Some games don't let the boulders reset and you are screwed out of whatever they are blocking. In other games, sometimes there is a powerful being resetting it. One game I played it was because you were inside a huge creature, moving (comparatively) organs around to move forward, and leaving the screen was long enough for them to move back to their correct positions.
    Maybe no one has come through here before. Old ruins are a perfect place for this.

    I'm not saying puzzles are perfect (our conversation on Pokemon points that out), but as game makers we can have puzzles without breaking immersion. Golden Sun is basically "Boulder Puzzles: The Game" and I can't see how they make sense, and yet it's still a good game. And as you pointed out, Zelda is full of puzzles. Honestly, having puzzles be our dungeons sounds like a fantastic idea.
     
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  5. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I actually never played more than two hours of Golden Sun because of that aspect of it's game. "Let me open my menu and use my Psychic Powers every 3 freakin' minutes to solve puzzles".

    While I love Zelda, it's because their puzzles are largely environmental. The items required to solve those environmental puzzles also allow you to interact with the environment in interesting or unique ways. I loved the "Metal Boots" being able to be used to climb up magnetic walls, across magnetic ceilings, and in some games, fall to the bottoms of lakes and allow you to fight there... or in some games allow you to push down heavy switches. Wearing them even kept you from being knocked back very far in combat (if an enemy knocked you around at all). Zelda is full of this kind of gameplay. They introduce the basic puzzle, which teaches you how to use the item, and then it keeps getting expanded upon all the way until the end of the game. At least... the good Zelda games do that. Windwaker doesn't do that, and it suffers IMMENSELY because of it (it's items really only being useful in the dungeon you find them in... and you never use them again... Twilight Princess suffers this same issue... same with Majora's Mask...).

    Zelda lets you experiment and "break the game" to an extent in order to let you solve its puzzles. Most RPGs on the market... Don't. They've got one solution, exactly one way to solve it, and you better solve it that way or you can't move on. No switches that I can hit from across the room with a hookshot... or on a delay with a bomb... or behind a wall with a boomerang... No multiple ways through a dungeon depending on how clever you were. Just a lot of "Here's a boulder, push it on a switch". Or a lot of "Find the McGuffin to put it on the pedestal". Or that whole, "random switch puzzle that opens some doors and closes others". Sometimes, you get a more complicated NUMBER puzzle... which largely consists of doing some math to progress... Which I just end up bypassing with a guide, because it's faster.

    A lot of these puzzles don't boil down to a player being smart, or clever, or even skillful. They boil down to "stop playing the game to solve this" in order to play a bit more after it". They typically serve as little more than time sinks.

    Think about that for a moment. If I can solve your boulder puzzle by looking it up... much faster than figuring it out on my own... doesn't that kind of mean your puzzle literally serves no purpose except to waste time? It's not like your puzzle introduces a new mechanic I'll be using frequently or creatively. Nope, it exists in this one instance, and it usually just gets longer as you play and keep encountering it.

    I'm probably in the minority when it comes to features in RPGs which exist merely to waste time (minigames, puzzles, grind, crafting systems) in that I don't like them.

    You know where I do like puzzles? In combat. I like figuring out how to beat a boss... or learn new mechanics from regular enemies. I like that. It makes me feel like what I'm doing is skill based at the very least. Like what I'm learning can be applied to all of combat throughout the entire game. If your RPG has puzzles, that's kind of where I prefer them to be. I like a deep and engaging combat system. Not so much a deep and engaging "push this sprite around the room" thing.
     
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  6. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

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    I could be wrong here, but I think FFMQ had very neat puzzles for a jrpg, in that it was a simplified Zelda experience.
    ..random encounters, required text, unexplained bosses, stealing, this list can have every element in an rpg in it. The problem is the wasting time, not the mechanics themselves. Like you said below;
    This is what puzzles should be like. This is very similar to Zelda with it's puzzles. The puzzles aren't the problems, but rather the implementation (as with many that you pointed out). Puzzles shouldn't have only one hard solution.

    (I'm surprised you didn't put A Link between Worlds on your list. It literally couldn't work without isolated puzzles for the game it was trying to be)
     
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  7. Nutty171

    Nutty171 Adept at ineptitude Veteran

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    Seriously? Is any game worth playing in that case? Just have somebody else play it for you! You hate puzzles because you don't bother to solve them. You're using the alternative of looking up the answers. If that is your experience with puzzles, I certainly can't blame you for hating them. You know what's immersion breaking? Not the puzzle itself, but literally breaking your immersion voluntarily to look up the answer. Puzzles aren't a bad decision by the developer, because the developer never intended for you to just look up the answer. If you want to like puzzles, stop making yourself hate them. You can't just hate puzzles (because you're ruining them for yourself) and then say that the developer shouldn't even have them in the game.

    Okay, that's my rant. Sorry if I was aggressive. Just... don't avoid having fun in videogames. Okay?
     
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  8. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I'm sorry, but I fail to see your connection to "just don't play games" from "puzzles are pointless wastes of time that break immersion". You should probably sit down and write up how you got to that conclusion since I have no idea how you managed to reach it.

    There is a difference between something that takes time to do... and something that exists PURELY to add time to the game. Most puzzles in RPGs and most Minigames in RPGs exist as part of the latter and not the former. Crafting systems exist accidently as part of the latter instead of the former due to terrible design.

    A puzzle that adds nothing to the game. No new mechanic, no clever way to use an old mechanic, no form of gameplay. Is not only a bad puzzle, but is inherently a waste of time. Unless your game is 90% pushing boulders around, there's no need for a puzzle to push boulders around... because it exists merely to waste the time of the player. Does it add story? Nope. Character development? Nope. New game mechanic? Nope. Interesting take on an old mechanic? Nope. Something fun to do? Not unless you thrive on tedium.

    Lots of puzzles in RPGs wore out their welcome with me when I started the Pokémon franchise. So, naturally, anything that reminds me of those tedious puzzles... is an automatic "I need to look this up so I can get on with the game" behavior from me.

    Wild speculation on your part... which shouldn't exist since I mentioned that I love Portal and Portal 2... I also mentioned that I like the puzzle solving aspects of most of the Zelda franchise as well (namely, these are the only examples I know of... where the puzzles are fun and worth solving on your own).

    I'm using the alternative of looking up the puzzles because the puzzles in question are a waste of my time and exist purely as a roadblock that stalls for time and nothing else. Most puzzles in RPGs exist purely as a roadblock. No item you get for solving them. Nothing neat off the beaten path. No reward for solving. Just a "now you can go back to actually playing the game again" reward. Which, I find tedious. I find it to be bad design as well. So, I look up the answer, and get back to the parts of the game that aren't tedious and are actually fun.

    My experience with good puzzles lie in Zelda games (though, not all of them) and the Portal series. My experience with bad puzzles is... well... nearly every RPG I've played in the last 25 years or so. Namely, they're no longer "new" or "a novelty" for me. They're tiresome. Boring. Repetitive. Tedious. They're nothing I haven't solved six dozen or so times over in other games. There's no fun for me to be had in a puzzle I first solved when I was 6, and now I'm having to solve again, 200 games later, at age 31.

    The developer should be planning on players doing just that. If they aren't, then they're either foolish, or are out of touch with reality. In the age of the internet, anyone can look up anything they desire. Everyone posts everything. It is the job of the developer to keep me from pausing their game and looking up the solution. If I find it tedious or unintuitive, I'll go look it up. That means the developer failed. Likewise, it's not like it isn't difficult to find ways to program puzzles to be a little bit random so that players cannot look up the answer (which may result in frustration for players, but hey, it's possible to randomize puzzle solutions, even in RPG Maker).

    Anytime a player leaves the game to go look something up about my game, I consider that a personal failure as a dev. I should be capable of communicating exactly what the player needs to be doing at any given point, to keep them immersed in my game and keep threading them along with enough gameplay, enough hints, and enough resources to keep them from having to go look something up. The minute a player of mine leaves my game to go look something up, I know I've screwed something up somewhere and it desperately needs fixed. I hold other developers to this same standard as well. But, not everyone cares about that kind of thing like I do. So, you can chalk that up to "personal preference" if you like.

    Why does everyone assume it's the fault of the player for hating an aspect of the game? When did this silly trend start? Is it just a way to cover for the incompetence of developers? A weird subgenre of fan boys? It's a relatively new phenomena though. It used to be that if something in a game wasn't fun, was boring, was silly, was stupid... it was the fault of the developer. Not sure where that went. But, okay, I'll explain my point of view on this to you.

    A player does not "make themselves hate a puzzle". A player either enjoys a puzzle or does not. It is the job of the dev to not muddy the waters of their own game and possibly turn off players with extra junk that need not exist... in order to cater to their intended fanbase. Namely, if you want puzzles, go make a puzzle game. Cater to the demographic that likes puzzles. Or, turn your RPG into a puzzle-heavy type game. I like Puzzle Quest. Puzzle Heavy game with RPG elements in it, that also tells a story and has characters. But, I don't like a standard RPG with a random puzzle thrown into it because the dev thought, "hey, a puzzle here might be cool!".

    Honestly, that's what I hate. That attitude of, "I'll just throw it in because I think it's cool" with no rhyme or reason or goal behind actually putting it in. So, the puzzles feel "tacked on". They feel like the developer just ran out of ideas for interesting encounters, neat looking terrain, plot, or whatever... and decided to try to add fun by throwing in a random puzzle for no reason. A puzzle that ultimately serves no purpose except as a time sink.

    If a developer wants to make an RPG that's puzzle heavy, I have no issue with that. I'd play something like that. But, if you've got 10 hours of gameplay and two random puzzles in it? Nope. I have no interest in your puzzles. I'll look up a guide, solve them, then back to what your game is actually about instead of the puzzles.

    It's not that I'm spoiling the puzzles for me and hating them because they're spoiled. It's that I'm looking up the solution to something decidedly "not fun" in order to expedite the gameplay to get back tot he bits I do find fun.

    I solved the Braille puzzle in Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald without the internet. Yes, you read that right. Without the internet. Without a library. I figured out where the "key" to the puzzle was, figured out that it was 26 sets of dots, translated that out to English letters, wrote them all down on scratch paper to solve the stupid things... just to get the Regis. Four hours of my life gone, solving that puzzle. I had no way to look up such a puzzle at all. No way to solve it except by playing the game. It was very "not fun". It was very much, "waste your freakin' time".

    I have the patience to solve puzzles. I have the brainpower to do it. I lack the desire to do it when it exists purely as a waste of my time. Go through all the RPGs you've ever played. Look for the puzzles. Count how many there are that exist purely as "roadblock". As in, you unlock nothing more for completing them... than the ability to get closer to finishing the game. Go ahead, go count them up. How many puzzles actually result in a reward that isn't, "you get to keep playing the game!"? In Red/Blue/Yellow, there is exactly one puzzle in those Pokémon games with a reward. Yep, just one. Articuno. Solving that one puzzle in the game gives you access to Articuno. Every other single puzzle in the game? Roadblocks. Every. Single. One. They exist to pad playtime. To keep you from progressing. That's just in Pokémon. How many other games do this nonsense? Puzzles as Roadblocks?

    The reason I view puzzles as pointless, unnecessary, annoying, and useless to exist in an RPG (or most games) is specifically for this reason.

    I don't avoid having fun in video games. I get annoyed when game developers avoid giving me fun in video games just because they have no idea how to do their jobs... Or are lazy. I play games that are fun. I do the parts of them many times over that are fun. The parts that aren't fun, I critique, complain about, avoid, or tear down as pointless to the overall game.

    I don't like "busywork" in a video game. Especially since my job is "busywork", but they have the decency to pay me to do boring crap. If I feel like a video game I'm playing is like my job, it's a bad video game. I'm here for fun. Not to be reminded that I've now taken on a second job that nobody is paying me to do.
     
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  9. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

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    Or even worse, you paying someone to do boring crap. Everything you hate about puzzles describes my experiences with free-to-play games and mmorpgs. And then they have the audacity to make you pay a monthly fee when I can buy an actual game just once?
    Since this thread is about making things interesting, these six things are a a great focus. If your puzzle adds all of them, great.
    It's been awhile, but I don't remember that puzzle being hard or tedious. And I make it a point to never look things up until my second playthrough.
     
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  10. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I found it tedious because to solve it, I had to write down the answers and solve the cypher. On paper. No internet or anything. I think most everyone else looked it up because nobody knew it was Braille... or how to read it.

    I knew it was Braille by looking at it. However, finding the block that was the cypher was the issue... and once I figured out which one was the cypher, the other three puzzles were simple to figure out... just tedious to translate... And in 3 separate locations across the world...

    With very specific requirements for unlocking the puzzles.

    Four hours of my time solving those. About an hour and a half of translation.
     
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  11. Nutty171

    Nutty171 Adept at ineptitude Veteran

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    Sorry if the continuity of my post is terrible, I wrote it practically from end to beginning. And overall it's a jumbled mess. Oh, and it's also 10:00 pm, so uh... just keep in mind that I'm a bit tired.

    Okay, yeah, that's an exaggeration, let me try to explain my thought process: Almost none. I said at the end of my post that it was a rant, and it was just that. I was barely thinking. Throughout this entire argument debate, I failed to remember that we're talking about puzzles in a game that's not a puzzle game. But either way, I see puzzles as a "game within a game." I saw you say:
    As somebody who actually likes puzzles, my first reaction was anger. I forgot in the moment that the "figuring it out on my own" was something that you actually disliked doing, and now I know that it's something you know that you dislike doing, instead of just being in the habit of looking it up and not knowing what you're missing out on.

    Okay, this makes sense. I am young, and have played (relatively) few games (You've been gaming longer than I've even been alive). I also don't play other RPG Maker games frequently if at all. For me there's still joy to be had in solving puzzles. But I encourage you, the next time you come across a puzzle (that's not in some random RPG Maker game), try solving it. I'm sure that over the 25 years puzzles have evolved in some way. (You probably did actually try this, it's just a suggestion in case you haven't.)

    Sorry. I hadn't really thought about the fact that puzzles such as boulder pushing would have gotten stale. But I will mention that Mark Brown of YouTube made an excellent video about what makes the puzzles in the Portal games and Zelda games different and better than most other puzzles. I can't get you a link atm, but I think the focus of the video was Infinifactory iirc. Basically, these puzzles that you like are different kinds of puzzles than those you dislike.

    I agree. I haven't even played that puzzle, but I know that it was awful.

    In conclusion (maybe): Essentially, I was wrong. I like puzzles, and I now realize that you don't like them, and you have good reasons to not like them. I agree with most of the points you make, in fact. What I think of when I think of a boulder pushing puzzle, however, is something more complex than boulders alone, as I mentioned in a previous post:
    You probably think of something simpler and, how can I say, flatter. I constantly forget these sorts of things. Because I live in the middle of nowhere and thus don't have many friends, I'm not used to other people having differing opinions as I.

    That's pretty much the way I work, except I would add "or if it takes a long time derping around without me making significant progress in solving it."

    Yay, the first time for me a scroll bar appeared in the text box. (sarcasm alert)
     
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  12. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    That's fine. I tend to do my best writing when I'm tired, as it's the most "stream of consciousness" I ever get. I have no issue with continuity of a post, so long as it all makes sense by the time I finish reading it.

    I have problems with minigames for that reason. "Quick, stop playing this game I designed to play this other game inside of it!". I really don't like that. That isn't to say I don't like the Hacking minigames from Bioshock or Fallout or Deus Ex. Because they're more "puzzle" than game. And they require some skill and thinking to solve. But, like say you have the "Golden Saucer" area from Final Fantasy 7... Or the Card Games in Final Fantasy 8 and 9... And I just groan.

    I just don't like a "game within a game" very much. Especially if it ends up taking up some of your actual playtime. It makes me usually yell at the game, "Why didn't the dev just design this minigame instead of slapping it into this other game!?". That's just me.

    There are features in games that I love, but other players just don't like. I love Random Encounters. I prefer them over "enemies on the screen". But, I usually understand why players prefer the enemies on the screen thing. The important thing to remember about this website is that not everyone agrees with everyone else. We all have our own opinions and biases and preferences. I don't think it's necessarily about agreeing with someone or disagreeing with someone. It's that people want to know they're being listened to. They want to know that you understand their opinion.

    Or, maybe that's just me. I'll take any criticism against my opinion quite readily, so long as whom I'm talking to understands my point of view as well.

    In any case, I've been around a long time. I've played all kinds of games. Almost every game on the market has puzzles in some fashion or another. I'm just tired of them. I prefer when a game just gives me some tools and a problem and leaves it up to me on how to solve the problem myself. I don't like the whole, "there's only one way to solve this, so do what I say, player!" part of gaming. If a puzzle is particularly interesting, I don't mind solving it on my own. I solved all of Portal 1 and 2 myself. I solve every Zelda game myself. Solved all of the Skyrim puzzles myself (despite how annoying they were and basic they are). If a puzzle feels interesting to me, or unique in some way, I usually take a crack at solving it myself. Or, if it seems like I can solve it faster than I can google it... I'll just solve it. The enjoyment in "figuring it out on my own" lies fairly heavily in the content and construction of the puzzle in the first place.

    I don't really play RPG Maker games either. I've played a few, here and there, and on occasion I'll download one from the forums here and tinker around in it. Usually more of a "learning" experience for me than it is a "I'm having fun!" experience. Most RPG Maker games focus far too heavily on gameplay for my tastes and focus too little on telling a compelling story or too little on a deep combat system (settling instead for something flashy). No, not all of those games are like that, but enough are that I don't pick them up often either.

    The vast majority of my video game experience usually comes from AAA titles. I've played Nintendo, Sony, Xbox, Sega, all the major consoles (save PlayStation 3 and 4) and many of the games for them. My own personal gaming library for consoles alone stretches across something like 600 total games. That's not even counting games I played with a rom and a translation patch because they were never released in the United States. It's not even counting the library of games I have on my PC. I've played lot of games. I'm still not even counting the amount of MMO's I've played since I was 12+ years old.

    Many of the puzzles you're seeing today were puzzles I was solving in games as old as the original NES. The boulder puzzles included in that. Zelda introduced the concept to me, of moving blocks. Other games took it steps further and had you pressing switches with those movable blocks. Somewhere around the SNES, the concept had "worn out its welcome" for me and they haven't really evolved much (or at all) since then.

    As for taking the time to solve puzzles in recent games... I'll use Mass Effect Andromeda as the most recent example. What are its puzzles? Sudoku. Cheap. Simple. Easy to solve, Sudoku knock-offs. In fact, they're a watered-down version of the actual puzzle. You have four 2x2 squares to solve with just 4 symbols. Instead of 9 3x3 squares to solve with 9 numbers a piece. In short... they waste a lot of time. They're annoying enough that I want to look up their solutions, but so easy to solve that I just solve them in about a minute and move on. Before that, I was playing Fallout 4... and while I liked the logic puzzles of "guess the correct password" for hacking... after the third game of it... I just "brute force" the passwords now and guess a whole bunch, then search for the "hacks" to get my tries back, and try the rest of the words. Oblivion did have a really good "puzzle" type mechanic I liked with its Lockpicking. I liked having to have precision timing or a good memory of how the game rotated through the "speed" of your hits in order to get the pins to stay up and unlock something. I got really good at it and after a while never needed but the one lockpick. That was a while ago, however. Does Tomb Raider count? I played the two newest ones they had where the franchise was rebooted. Not a fan of the puzzles in those games either... They feel... tedious? The reward also never seems worth the effort. It also doesn't help that there's exactly a single solution to each puzzle either.

    I found the video and he simply makes the distinction between "finding a solution" and "inventing a solution". It's interesting to note, but he kind of relegates the puzzles that are "just a single solution" into the same bin as anything else that's "find a solution" like he mentions "Portal". Interesting video, but I disagree with him on a few things.

    You have no idea. Give it a try sometime. Without internet or a library. It's probably the most annoying puzzle I've ever done.

    I like a good puzzle. It's just that... I haven't seen any for a very long time. None I truly enjoy and look forward to doing, anyway. Most I run across are, "jeeze, I have to solve a puzzle now/again?". If executed well, and they add something to the game world or gameplay, I'd find them fun. But, most, are just roadblocks. I prefer the standard roadblocks instead of contrived ones. That's just me. Also... yeah, the boulders being pushed onto switches has been around a while... I don't find those fun either... They're even a staple of D&D games, that's how old they are. :D

    Anyway, that's all I got. I have to head back to work. Have a great day!
     
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  13. Nutty171

    Nutty171 Adept at ineptitude Veteran

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    Good point, but I'm pretty sure it's mainly for budget reasons. I'm sure it's cheaper to publish and produce one game instead of 20.

    Exactly how I am! I always keep arguing until the other person says that they understand what I'm trying to say. Either that or proves that what I'm trying to say is something stupid.

    ...I always imagined that trying to decode some foreign alphabet would be fun... I'm not sure I'm right about that, though.

    Innovation is the name of the game here. That complex and difficult to solve boulder puzzle I mentioned? That was the first time I've actually had trouble solving a puzzle like that. When the Pokémon games were made, those puzzles had pretty much never been made before and hadn't worn out their welcome. I'll end this post with a quote from Miyamoto. He once addressed the fans who kept asking for another F-Zero game. He said, "What do want us to do that we haven't already done?"
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
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  14. Eviticous

    Eviticous Node Js Developer By Trade, FF14 Player By Heart Veteran

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    Based solely on the title: Make the game interesting for YOU to play. Make a game YOU would want to play. Others will or will not follow. But the important thing is for you to make a game that caters to you, not to the mass market. tell a story YOU want to read.
     
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  15. Richard Diaz

    Richard Diaz Warper Member

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    That's a good question. I think all the games are good on their own. The stories, puzzle make them more interesting to play the game and if the game is of Pokemon then it would be best. I like to play Pokemon games such as Acheter Pokemon Soleil and many more which makes the game really interesting to play. So the game itself is good to play. The Pokemon games are fun playing with lots of different colored Pokemon's and with the different stories.
     
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  16. acidhedz

    acidhedz Veteran Veteran

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    Well... that's a loaded question...

    In my last game, I did a comedy RPG. So it has a lot of jokes in it. A lot of it spoofing classic RPGs.
    For example, since a common RPG trope is that each "land", or "area" you travel in will have a theme, I gave each one a terrain based theme as per usual, but then I also gave each a reference based theme.
    Monty Python, 90s music, MST3K, Electronica, Futurama, 80s music, 80s-90s cartoons, heavy metal, and youtubers. Every main map enemy in the game says something different, and what they say is always based on their areas' theme.
    I then added more stuff, sometimes as additional themes. The game has hundreds of jokes in it.
    A lot of which are found through exploration. So you aren't just wandering around on that flat plane, you're exploring to see what kind of goofy stuff I've tucked away in all the nooks and crannies.
    Some of them are side quests.
    The Inn, which follows you around, has a lot of funny stuff in it. Every single one has different shelves of funny spells, books, gear (display models only, sorry), and all sorts of other stuff. For example, one has piles of magazines laying around. One pile is for the latest sports. Anyone want to play 'Mega-Downhill Monopoly'? Or, 'Radical Mug Jogging'? So it's not just a place to heal up and buy stuff. You can do the same with villages. Don't just have them exist to serve the player, make them all unique and interesting, and people will stay interested.
    Since I also write poetry, you can find some of those scattered around as well. Which is a very personal touch.
    IE, the content of the game is what keeps people interested. Not everyone will care about the content you create, especially if you just make generic fantasy RPG #3,535,497, but if you do your own thing, let yourself shine through, that will keep people interested.

    Along those lines, as the game goes on, more and more dramatic, and darker, elements start creeping in. So it's always messing with your expectations. Which is always a good way to keep people interested in what's going on.

    I intentionally layered a lot of stuff into the game. So a player can enjoy it on the surface level as a funny, and sometimes very dark and twisted, RPG, which it is, or dig deeper to figure stuff out... if that's how they get their jollies. That's something else you can do to keep people interested. Just don't get into a pretentious ego trip and make it so anyone who doesn't "get it", wont understand what you're on about. Because most people wont care.

    As for the combat, I made it skill based tactical. Lots of DoT. Lots of status effects. Characters have innate abilities, and passive skills that make them stronger. Strong skills tend to hurt the PC who uses them, or be difficult to use before the baddies kill you. Most skills and spells use both MP and SP, so you have to do cost-effect judgement for every single character, in every turn of combat.
    Meaning you have to think about what you're going to do.

    On top of that, since I'm an indie music producer, I added quite a few battle tracks, and made them randomly change often. Made sure there were lots of different enemies, who use a variety of skills, and come in a variety of troop arrangements. A lot of encounters will randomly give you an easy, medium, or hard battle. Used Yanfly's animated sideview battler plug-in and made a lot of the enemies sprites (rather than battlers), with several different ones, and random weapons. Used his more enemy drops plug-in to make it so they drop new stuff based on party level, and have them dropping chest keys for chests that give random rewards.
    So... battles change up fairly often, the more you level the more goodies you get, and you may get a key to a treasure chest. Which helps keep things from getting boring.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
    #36
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  17. kwanzaabot

    kwanzaabot Veteran Veteran

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    I'm making a Digimon game, partially because I really hate the game mechanics of the Digimon World games (you can only evolve into certain mons if you have certain stats, and good luck with that, as you're racing against the clock due to their limited lifespans), and Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth didn't really appeal to me either, as it's still stat-based.

    I wanted a Digimon game where I could easily unlock my favourites, and then, once they died, I could easily get them back. Sort of like the various Digimon anime, where even if a partner mon dies, they can evolve back into the same mon.

    So, what I've done is come up with "Data Fragments". You collect them from Digimon you defeat, and you equip them to evolve into that Digimon.

    If your mon's at a certain level, their friendship is at a certain amount, and provided it's a legal evolution (Gabumon can't become Greymon, for instance) they'll evolve into that Digimon. And if they die, they're sent back to level 1 and they unequip their Data Fragments. But you still have that data, so once you level them back up, you can evolve them straight back to your favourite Digimon again. Or you could try something different, if you've unlocked something else.

    I feel that it's a lot more forgiving, and encourages exploration, as you have to actually seek out those Digimon to collect their data. In Digimon World Re;Digitize, for instance, I never left File City, as I had to spend all my time at the gym, grinding for stats. And if I left the city and lost one too many battles, then I was back at square one. It drove me insane.

    Are other people going to enjoy it?

    Can't say.

    But the important thing is that it's a game I want to play.
     
    #37
  18. atoms

    atoms Veteran Veteran

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    I think the battle system can make a game fun. Instead of having the player use attack > attack > attack create some skills that make sense to make the player think and make different decisions. Then give the enemies a good range of different skills as well and balance that all together. Then that should be fun.
     
    #38
  19. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    That sounds like my Legend of Zelda experience. Except it was far worse there, because the entire game is made of obstacles to be solved by using items.

    Zelda's puzzles are like finding a new item in a themed dungeon and then have the next 20 puzzles + the boss + the mini-boss all involve that item. And repeat that 8 times over (or however many themed dungeons there are). The only exception is the final dungeon where it mixes it up.
     
    #39
  20. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Which Legend of Zelda? The Original? One of the later versions?

    That is sort of the fun of most Zelda games. You get the item, you use it in a basic way, the next puzzle iterates on what you learned, expands on it, adds more to it, and then lets you loose into the world with the item and the knowledge on the ways it can be used.

    The best Zelda games iterate on the items you get in later dungeons (they teach you new things about the items through most of the game and aren't just useful in the dungeon you get them in...). The worst ones (like Windwaker or Majora's Mask) require the use of the item only in the dungeon you get it and then you never, ever, use it again.
     
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