How to handle game over

sirgames

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Imagine this, the player saved at point A inside a dungeon, but for some reason he can not continue (difficult boss fight, low level, low consumables etc.).

after the game over he returns where he has saved, then decides to go back to potions or other objects or grinding. now if the player is at a point where it is also difficult to go back (random encounters) in a safe place, the player may be blocked.

how to solve this problem?
 

a noble wolf

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create an item like the rope from pokemon the will return them to the start of the dungeon. make it consumable that way they have to use it strategically.
 

shockra

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create an item like the rope from pokemon the will return them to the start of the dungeon. make it consumable that way they have to use it strategically.

That's a good plan, but keep in mind that such an item (or skill, if you'd rather use that) takes a lot of eventing to work. You need to make each dungeon you want that option for set a variable when you enter it. Then the item uses that variable to know where to go. And make sure that after using the item, or otherwise leaving the dungeon, the variable is reset (ideally to zero when outside). If that variable is zero, the item isn't used. It's tricky, but games like Pokemon and Dragon Quest have done it.
 

AmazingKazuki

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There are a variety of ways to handle this. More then I'll actually list if you come up with something else.

1. Make the dungeon path available to go back, letting the character leave freely.
2. Make an Escape Rope (Pokemon) or Return Scroll (plenty of games).
a. like shockra said, you can do the variable thing or if you are making it dungeon specific it could be "(Name of Dungeon) Escape [Scroll]"
3. Add a sort of strange merchant hanging out in the dungeon offering help because of the difficulty.
4. Something I did in one project was after losing to the final boss, they didn't get the normal game over screen and went back to the last save point (specific made statue), and the final boss got slightly recolored and was slightly less stats.
 

CleanWater

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Did you played some old games, like Dragon Quest, Phantasy Star and such?

There are items like Fairy Water (no random encounters for some time - Dragon Quest), Escapipe (Exit dungeons - Phantasy Star) and other useful ones.
You can also learn skills later that do exactly the same as these items.

Other alternative is to make a sort of "no game over" where, if you die in combat, you return to the last village/city without your money (Breath of Fire).
 

sirgames

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Thanks for all the answers, I'm thinking of something similiar to what AmazingKazuki said:

maybe making save available only with statues that heals you (sort of dark souls) + an infinite use item/skill that can teleport you to major cities/save points, this would make sort of a thrill feeling to the player until he arrives next save point but maybe it's too much punishing?
 
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CleanWater

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it's too much punishing?

Not if the reward for taking this punishment after trying to complete the dungeon many times is great and worth the trouble. :wink:
 

AmazingKazuki

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The thing is you want to add any treasure to the dungeon that characters can get to and things they're going to use. Not things they can't use or if it is like a common chest items that are used much later on or something. You can always do those items or the statue, like you mentioned doing. You could also do a trinket item, though a little bit more advanced. Where the potion or whatever it is has charges, and replenishes while using the statue, allowing the player to have a few stronger heals during the final boss.
 

Chaos Avian

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You could pull a Dragon Quest, if the party wipes out, instead of Game Over they return to the last town they visited(in Dragon Quest it would be last church they saved in, but eh).
 

Maliki79

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I actually solved this the way Bravely Default did. I let the player turn encounters off. Gotta test it to see if it's a truely viable solution, but I think it'll be fine.
 

Tai_MT

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Imagine this, the player saved at point A inside a dungeon, but for some reason he can not continue (difficult boss fight, low level, low consumables etc.).

This is a problem of game design. If a player can GET to your boss at a low level, you've got a problem in there somewhere. Namely, your encounters aren't properly preparing for the bosses or your encounters are far too easy in comparison to a boss monster. Unless, of course, you're creating a game where you can beat it at low levels, and it would be the player's fault for attempting to do so before understanding all the combat mechanics and knowing where all the good loot is... to do so.

after the game over he returns where he has saved, then decides to go back to potions or other objects or grinding. now if the player is at a point where it is also difficult to go back (random encounters) in a safe place, the player may be blocked.

how to solve this problem?

This is fairly easy to solve, though it shouldn't really be a problem for the dev, unless you've designed the game wrong in some fashion (as noted above). Players who "forge ahead" despite the massive power gap between them and the new monsters or bosses and without enough healing items are really causing their own problems. Namely, they're being stupid and they kind of deserve it.

But, to solve the problem is simple. It can be accomplished in a lot of ways. The escape command is useful for backtracking out of dungeons. You can give players a method of always escaping battle if they need to (aside from boss fights). Just give them a high escape rate or whatever it takes. You can also solve this by giving players an item or something early in the game that dropped encounter rates to half or to zero (I chose zero). If they equip the item, they're making a conscious choice to leave the dungeon. You can create items to let you leave a dungeon immediately (if you don't mind eventing such a thing). You can also do this with dungeon design. Make dungeons relatively short (15 minute affairs to move forward in the game, roughly 3 minutes to walk back to the entrance... maybe). You can put in "return portals" at every save point if you like. Or, after puzzles. Lots of ways to solve this problem. Even some of the mentioned above methods of when your party is wiped and just returning you to town.
 

.//SnowAlias

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Being able to turn off encounters might be an option, but that itself might take away from the danger and challenge of your dungeon. While it does put the player at ease and reduces the chance of your player becoming too frustrated, you also shouldn't sacrifice the challenge. An escape item is great, but the player might not ALWAYS have one on them. Returning to the dungeon entrance or nearest town from a game over is nice, but the player will have to purposely lose in order to get thrown out of the dungeon which isn't something they might aim for (although they might).

Perhaps you could consider giving the option to return to other save points within the same dungeon (that the player has already passed) when they interact with a save point. Always put one at the beginning of your dungeons so they can have an escape card.
 

mauvebutterfly

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Not having save points in the dungeon would fix this problem. Of course, doing that limits the audience for your game somewhat. It is an option though, and you can probably get away with it without too many complaints if the entire dungeon can be cleared in 15 minutes or less.

This would also work for larger branching dungeons, with a central hub at the entrance that also doubles as a save point (or as access to the world map.) As long as each branch doesn't take too long you could avoid placing save points in the back of the dungeon.
 

esterk

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I think there are a lot of good solutions posted here. My two cents is that I personally like 'Escape Rope' like items, but I like for them to be limited and/or expensive, so the player doesn't always have a safety net, or at least has to really think about whether it is worth using. Also, the ability to buy items like Repel is good too. These are good items that are less effective and more tedious than an instant escape, but could be more common or less expensive, maybe even make them able to be crafted if you have a crafting system.

I personally don't like games that just give you a Game Over screen. It's not a dealbreaker, but I've always been a fan of either returning to the entrance of a dungeon or returning to the last 'safe haven' area, with an amount of resources (gold, items, etc) drained from you. But that's just me, obviously you'll need to determine your own preferences and what fits with your game best.
 

LostFonDrive

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I would just not put any save points in the dungeon except right before the boss, and that savepoint would give players the option to teleport to the dungeon entrance. Or alternatively just put a shortcut back to the beginning, e.g. players can push down a rope or something that leads back down to the ground floor they started on.
 

esterk

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I would just not put any save points in the dungeon except right before the boss, and that savepoint would give players the option to teleport to the dungeon entrance. Or alternatively just put a shortcut back to the beginning, e.g. players can push down a rope or something that leads back down to the ground floor they started on.

Actually I was playing Digital Devil Saga the other day and they do something similar to this, which I really enjoy. They have large karma terminals, which let you save and pay to restore your health. Then they have small karma terminals which only let you save or teleport to large terminals. So they usually have a large terminal at a dungeon start and small ones scattered within. So you can use a small one to teleport back to the exit, or just use it to save.
 

Frozen_Phoenix

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One way you can do it is to let the party sustain effectively against normal encounters without using consumables.
 

XIIIthHarbinger

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Perhaps it's only me, but I don't see this as a problem.

I have no sympathy for a player who charges into a dungeon, bits off more than they can chew, & gets themselves stuck between the proverbial "rock & a hard place". & quite honestly if someone was trying to whing to me about such circumstances they found themselves in, in a game I had made, my response would be an unequivocal "Get good scrub!".

Unless you are forcing them into a dungeon without warning, can enter the dungeon without having a method defeating it available to them (victory condition that requires a specific item), or you are not allowing them to save prior to entering a dungeon, then the problem is their lack of preparation & planning. In which case they can "eat **** & die", learn to actually save before entering a dungeon, & go do some grinding.

Personally, I rather enjoy when a game punishes me without mercy for my own hubris, it makes me more invested in my characters, & more considerate of my own actions in the game.
 

Lihinel

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Handle it like a man:

If the party wipes,
you get a game over screen,
then the game erases all savefiles,
then the game uninstalls itself.
 

Caitlin

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This can be solved a couple of ways, Dragon Quest just had you lose half of your gold, but since you could only save at the King that was the last place you saved. This doesn't fit, so that's all I am going to say about that option. Secret of Mana had a rope you use to escape. Phantasy Star had something you used to escape. There have been plenty of games that had an item used to escape, but while I think those are the best way to go about it, I couldn't tell you how to set it up. Another method might be to have a person who will teleport you to the start of the dungeon (Free the first time, charges you for the other times). [=^.^=] This does make me think about my own games, too, so thanks for that.
 

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