Is this a good way to fudge percentages of things happening?

woootbm

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Unless you're making a competitive PvP game or a casino game that gambles with real money, you shouldn't be afraid to fudge the numbers.

Especially in a game that has a story at its core. Imagine if in Star Wars if Luke was making that last trench run. It's a million-to-one shot and the Death Star is locked onto the Rebel base. He fires annnnd.... he misses. Then the Imperials obliterate the Rebel planet and the whole freaking franchise is over. I mean, that would be FUNNY, but come on. Of course the good guy makes the impossible shot. People love that stuff. Works every time, man.

Along those same lines, games lie to the players in plenty of other places. You think a train sequence is anything more than a looping background? Unless it's Uncharted 2, you're being lied to. You think those buildings in the far distance are full size? They're miniatures with depth of field on them to look farther away. You think those birds in the skybox are fully modeled? More often than not, they're 2D sprites. Even in cutting edge modern games.

You gotta think about presentation. You do the thing that makes the player feel the experience the best, don't let details they'll never even see get in the way.
 

Frostorm

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Along those same lines, games lie to the players in plenty of other places. You think a train sequence is anything more than a looping background? Unless it's Uncharted 2, you're being lied to. You think those buildings in the far distance are full size? They're miniatures with depth of field on them to look farther away. You think those birds in the skybox are fully modeled? More often than not, they're 2D sprites. Even in cutting edge modern games.
Audio/Visual is one thing, but if we're talking game balance and tactical/strategic combat, then the player shouldn't be lied to. If it's a double roll mechanic, I'd say that's ok since the numeral percentage is directly used in the formula. If it's some arbitrary fudging of the numbers, that's not so cool imo. Like if a skill has a certain % chance to hit/crit or w/e, the player is using that number to base their tactical decisions on. A few percentage points could change a player's decision whether to execute an action or not. Some players (like me) like to do the math, I used to have entire spreadsheets to calculate DPS on World of Warcraft before programs like Rawr were available. What would happen if the numbers given by the game were false/skewed? It would throw all my calculations off...
 

woootbm

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What would happen if the numbers given by the game were false/skewed? It would throw all my calculations off...
You'd get games like X-Com, Civilization, Fire Emblem, Diablo, Mario Kart, Halo (look up bullet magnetism), Castlevania, the Batman Arkham series, Uncharted series (gameplay, yes), Doom 2016, Call of Duty, and on and on.
 

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This one above this one has advised much wisdom in their post. The altar furthers advises to seek further advice from this one about that one in order to achieve a greater understanding of things that should be understood greatly through genres that one may not be fully knowledgeable of at this current existence.

Good day mortal, and may our combined posts aid you in your quest of enhancing your gam mak.
 

Frostorm

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You'd get games like X-Com, Civilization, Fire Emblem, Diablo, Mario Kart, Halo (look up bullet magnetism), Castlevania, the Batman Arkham series, Uncharted series (gameplay, yes), Doom 2016, Call of Duty, and on and on.
The greatest flaw when employing % RNG mechanics is not giving players enough agency to modify their hit/crit/ or w/e it may be. If the game allows me to create a build or put together a set of equipment to optimize the outcome of RNG situations, that feels good. And the tooltip would reflect this, hence the importance of showing the player true values, not arbitrarily fudged numbers. Most of the games you listed don't allow for this kind of customization/agency.

For example, in my project Dual Wielding imparts a -20% chance to hit, with the base hit chance being 95%. This puts dual wielders at a 75% hit chance, so not very good. Though their basic attacks AND physical skills get double attacks, so mathematically it's worthwhile. However, it still doesn't feel good to miss. That's why there's the Dexterity (AGI renamed) stat in my game, which increases your chance to hit, crit, and counter, while also increasing physical dmg at only half the rate of Strength (ATK renamed). So it is actually possible to exceed 100% hit in my game by stacking Dexterity, though you sacrifice other things naturally. If any of these numbers were fudged, it would make for a rather inconsistent system.

You gotta think about presentation. You do the thing that makes the player feel the experience the best, don't let details they'll never even see get in the way.
If the tooltip lies to me, I'm not gonna have a fun experience... Or if it's not even presented, then I'm left to go online and search for the formulas the game employs. So annoying to have to go out of my way for stuff like that.
 
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TheoAllen

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Most of the games you listed don't allow for this kind of customization/agency.
Screenshot_333.jpg

What would happen if the numbers given by the game were false/skewed? It would throw all my calculations off...
Except it doesn't.
You have 90% chance to hit. You could program the game so that if you missed once, the next 5-10 attacks will not miss. So the player will not experience missed attack consecutively. You just don't tell that to the players.

It favors to the player for a good reason.
 

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@TheoAllen I said most, obviously games like Mario Cart and such. Even Fire Emblem too, honestly. Xcom at least is more tactical, tho it does bug me when stuff like this happens...
Fv7GyTwMEK3kCu7nh0QFa3PzETPAOj--8IYnA6Rrq3E.png
You have 90% chance to hit. You could program the game so that if you missed once, the next 5-10 attacks will not miss. So the player will not experience missed attack consecutively. You just don't tell that to the players.
But then how would I calculate my true expected DPS if the game hides that extra mechanic? So I could've gotten away w/ investing less in Hit and put it elsewhere, but since I didn't know about it, I've now overinvested in that attribute.
 
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TheoAllen

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@TheoAllen I said most, obviously games like Mario Cart and such. Even Fire Emblem too, honestly. Xcom at least is more tactical, tho it does bug me when stuff like this happens...
View attachment 148355
This is just a meme because the hit rate in XCOM is based on your weapon rather than the range. You see, this particular weapon is in the early game and also has an awful hit rate. Now if you change that with plasma rifle, you will have at least 95%.

But then how would I calculate my true expected DPS if the game hides that extra mechanic? So I could've gotten away w/ investing less in Hit and put it elsewhere, but since I didn't know about it, I've now overinvested in that attribute.
When you put an RNG mechanic, you already can't calculate true DPS.
Except you literally coded it in the way that in the 90% hit rate, you missed one and hit 9 times in 10 times attack. What is important is to not make your player frustrated because, in 90% hit rate, they missed 3 times in a row because, well, RNG. Can you calculate that though?

If you want to calculate your DPS, you might as well as consider just use a 100% hit rate.
 

Frostorm

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When you put an RNG mechanic, you already can't calculate true DPS.
I beg to differ, you simply run simulations of the formula over many many iterations. I usually opt to run it at least 10-25 thousand times, if not 100k just cuz. This gets you practically the same result as you would in-game. This used to be done on Excel sheets before DPS Calculators like Rawr for were a thing in WoW, which made it possible to run the number of iterations I described. When you're trying to squeeze every last drop of DPS you can out of your character, not even the tiniest variable is overlooked. Just ask any theorycrafter or min-maxer.
Except you literally coded it in the way that in the 90% hit rate, you missed one and hit 9 times in 10 times attack.
Even this mechanic you described can be simulated in a calculator. A simulator can account for this and spit out ur actual effective hit rate if it's programmed to, just like how the game itself was coded so.

My point is, theorycrafters and min-maxers rely on accurate representation of data, otherwise, all their efforts are for naught. And we aren't an insignificant portion of the gaming community either, even if we aren't the most prevalent.
 
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TheoAllen

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I beg to differ, you simply run simulations of the formula over many many iterations.
I beg to differ, the result is probably going to be "the worst-case scenario" and "the best-case scenario". And by that, I don't consider it a true DPS.

I usually opt to run it at least 10-25 thousand times, if not 100k just cuz. This gets you practically the same result as you would in-game. This used to be done on Excel sheets before DPS Calculators like Rawr for were a thing in WoW, which made it possible to run the number of iterations I described. When you're trying to squeeze every last drop of DPS you can out of your character, not even the tiniest variable is overlooked. Just ask any min-maxer.
This only makes sense if you dev a game. You run through simulation making sure the number is balanced. The average players who play the game will not bother to do this. What they know if the hit rate is 90% and they missed 3 times in a row, your game sucks.

Or, do you want the player to do this simulation to min-max your game like this?

Even the mechanic you described can be simulated in a calculator.
I'm not talking about the calculator. I'm talking about if you coded your game to be like this.

EDIT:
Here's another "Pseudo-random" from yet another popular game we know.
In short, in this article, if a certain effect is not activated, the chance is gradually going up until 100% chance of activation to break a streak of no activation. This kind of practice had been used in many games.
 

Frostorm

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I beg to differ, the result is probably going to be "the worst-case scenario" and "the best-case scenario". And by that, I don't consider it a true DPS.
Actually the more iterations you run, the closer to average you get.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_averages

This only makes sense if you dev a game. You run through simulation making sure the number is balanced. The average players who play the game will not bother to do this. What they know if the hit rate is 90% and they missed 3 times in a row, your game sucks.

Or, do you want the player to do this simulation to min-max your game like this?
How do you explain the tens of thousands of raiders in WoW running simulation calculators to optimize their DPS then? WoW had 12 million subscribers at its peak, so my figure is grossly conservative.

I'm not talking about the calculator. I'm talking about if you coded your game to be like this.
I'm aware, I simply meant to program the calculator to simulate this mechanic that's been coded into the game itself.

Here's another "Pseudo-random" from yet another popular game we know.
In short, in this article, if a certain effect is not activated, the chance is gradually going up until 100% chance of activation to break a streak of no activation. This kind of practice had been used in many games.
I'm not against the idea of this practice. I'm simply against the idea of not making it known to the player it's being employed. Because a mechanic like this will skew the actual activation rate vs the tooltip %. And if I wanted to calculate my true activation rate, I'd need to know such a mechanic was in play, or else my calculations are all off...
 
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woootbm

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It needs to said, it seems, that while it is very good to have math folks combing through a game's numbers to make sure it's all hunky-dory, it's important to not lose sight of the fact that your product is a game and not some kind of spreadsheet simulator.

Every game is just a series of numbers, colors aligned in a matrix, buttons on a mechanism, and digital sound. Your job as a game designer is to make people forget all of that and make them think "I'm this cool dude in this cool world doing this cool thing!" Instead of them actualizing "I pressed F and did 5. Now this red thing is 6 instead of 11 and it bleeped." Games have been around long enough that I don't think people fall this far into cognitive dissonance, but people do start getting that feeling of "just pushing buttons" and they get bored.

My point is, the vast majority of people don't really care about the numbers. Even when they say they do. They really just care that the numbers seem "right" and "good." Sure there's one or two who do actually do those deep dives, but they're busy playing Eve Online. I joke. But seriously they aren't worth worrying about. Especially for a little RPM project.

How do you explain the tens of thousands of raiders in WoW running simulation calculators to optimize their DPS then?
"My Eviscerate isn't doing the right amount of damage!" Yeah, bunch of mathematicians those lot are. Most of them aren't running those calculations, they're just copying what they read off the internet.

This is a good example of what I'm talking about: these people aren't enjoying the game. They're enjoying the meta game. To hell with them. Catering to them killed hybridization and overnormalized every class in the game.
 

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Catering to them killed hybridization and overnormalized every class in the game.
The day WoW lost its talent trees was the day WoW died for me. I always played hybrids, mostly Shaman. But even as a Death Knight in WotLK, I made a unique Frost/Unholy hybrid spec (3 disease Obliterate w/ perma pet while stacking Armor Pen) that was soon made irrelevant in the following expansion. And honestly, theorycrafters aren't all about the meta. I always strove to create an unorthodox build that was greater than the sum of its parts. That's the holy grail of theorycrafting imo, at least for me but I doubt I'm the only one. Simulation calculators were just a tool to achieve those ends.

"My Eviscerate isn't doing the right amount of damage!" Yeah, bunch of mathematicians those lot are.
What did you expect from a Rogue? lol j/k

Look I'm not saying we shouldn't make RNG things in the players' favor, whether through means of pseudo-randomness or multiple rolls, I'm simply saying it shouldn't be hidden. Many players rely on the accurate representation of the game's numbers to make their decisions, that's my point.

That's also why I keep my formulas simple, so it's easy for players to grasp. Yes, I show my damage formulas in my skills' but I use easy to understand Icons for Str, Dex, Int, etc.. (represented by a full icon being worth Statx1, half an icon means Statx0.5, 2 icons mean Statx2, and so on) Skills using multiple stats will feature icons of the corresponding stat. Super easy to understand, even a child could grasp it.
 
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TheoAllen

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How do you explain the tens of thousands of raiders in WoW running simulation calculators to optimize their DPS then? WoW had 12 million subscribers at its peak, so my figure is grossly conservative.
WoW is an online game, you spend more than one hundred hours into the game. At that time, you could actually notice one thing or two. And it has hundreds of player base to share their experience. Based on that data, they could make a calculation on how the game behaves. Eh, not to mention, since it's an online game, you could brag and boost your ego. So you have another reason why you do min-maxing. Besides, I believe most of them just go look up at the guide instead of doing on their own calculation like many online games.

Your game is an offline game, that can be finished in, probably under 20 hours. And you probably don't have a large player base to share their experience and to even make a calculation worthwhile since it just a temporary.

I'm not against the idea of this practice. I'm simply against the idea of not making it known to the player it's being employed. Because a mechanic like this will skew the actual activation rate vs the tooltip %. And if I wanted to calculate my true activation rate, I'd need to know such a mechanic was in play, or else my calculations are all off...
Hiding actual mechanics in favor of players is a common practice. However, if you choose to actually tell the player, it's up to you as a dev. I'll just tell you that it is a common practice. The player does not need to know how that works.
 

Frostorm

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Pokemon is also an offline game that has many hidden mechanics. However, players still end up going on Bulbapedia to look that stuff up. There will always be a subset of the population that will try to maximize their EV/IV/Natures/etc... Sure their design choice in not telling the player was probably the right one in the early days when it came out since its players were generally kids. But all those kids playing Pokemon in their youth are now adults w/ minds capable of comprehending complex mathematical formulae. Hell, it doesn't even need to be an in your face way of letting the player know of these mechanics. They could just include an NPC, lets use Blue (Gary who ended up becoming a Pokemon Prof in canon) for example and place him somewhere in the game. When you talk to him, he could explain all the hidden mechanics of the game, since he's been there, done that, aka a true OG Pokemon veteran. Plus he's a retired Pokemon Master and now a Pokemon professor/researcher so he should be expected to know stuff like that.

I'm aware of its common practice, but lots of practices that are common aren't always the best. Just take Tai_MT's rants on the flaws of 99% the RPGs he's played as an example.
 

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Pokemon is also an offline game that has many hidden mechanics. However, players still end up going on Bulbapedia to look that stuff up. There will always be a subset of the population that will try to maximize their EV/IV/Natures/etc...
I did say the average players and you just confirmed that pokemon itself has a hidden mechanic. And if we make an exception, there always be an exception to everything.

Now, I don't play pokemon (only saw people playing it) so I have nothing to contribute. Does it need you to min-max to finish the game though?

Sure their design choice in not telling the player was probably the right one in the early days when it came out since its players were generally kids.
And it still the right thing to do depends on what kind of game mechanic you have and what kind of experience you want to give to the players. Now, I regret to tell you that I forgot which video I watched but there's a certain FPS game in which if you look out from the cover to shoot your enemy, you have a few seconds of invulnerability (or the enemy will miss a few shot) so you don't get killed right away because that is going to be frustrating. And IIRC the game didn't tell you that this was a thing.

I'm aware of its common practice, but lots of practices that are common aren't always the best. Just take Tai_MT's rants on the flaws of 99% the RPGs he's played as an example.
Tai_MT usually brought a really good point on their rant.

However, except if you could point one of their rant about this particular hidden mechanic being bad, don't bring this. As far as I could tell, the closest one to RNG mechanic was about their rant that absolute 100% hit doesn't automatically make a game good. But that's it.
 

Frostorm

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I brought up Pokemon as an example of an OFFLINE game w/ hidden mechanics since you implied WoW was a bad example due to being an MMO. I wasn't refuting the fact that Pokemon or many other games have hidden mechanics. Sorry, I picked Pokemon cuz I assumed everyone has at least played it in one form or another. But to answer your question, obviously, you don't need to min-max to beat it, no good game out there should require you to. However, that's not gonna stop many players from doing so anyway, simply because that's how they like to play, myself included.

I also only brought up Tai_MT's rants as a way of showing that your argument of how something must be good if it's common practice is flawed logic. I wasn't referring to anything specific he said.

My point is simply that not hiding such mechanics would satisfy a segment of the population that's often been ignored. And it wouldn't be at the detriment of other players if done correctly.
 
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I brought up Pokemon as an example of an OFFLINE game w/ hidden mechanics since you said WoW was a bad example due to being an MMO. I wasn't refuting the fact that Pokemon or many other games have hidden mechanics. Sorry, I picked Pokemon cuz I assumed everyone has at least played it in one form or another. But to answer your question, obviously, you don't need to min-max to beat it, no good game out there should require you to. However, that's not gonna stop many players from doing so anyway, simply because that's how they like to play, myself included.
No need to apologize. No one in the world has played every game in existence.

Now, from what I could tell, you're trying to appeal to people who do min-maxing. So you refuse to hid mechanic. Which, to be fair, it isn't bad. Have you release a game and gather feedback and data from your playtesters or at least your target audience? If yes, do they actually doing math? Or they do simple math? (bigger number = better).

I also only brought up Tai_MT's rants as a way of showing that your argument for something must good if its common practice is flawed logic. I wasn't referring to anything specific he said.
Then it's not a good citation.

Your opinion is yours only. If you could tell why a certain common practice is bad, tell why or cite someone's opinion (or fact) that directly related to it and you agree. Not cite something irrelevant to the topic.
 

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Now, from what I could tell, you're trying to appeal to people who do min-maxing. So you refuse to hid mechanic. Which, to be fair, it isn't bad. Have you release a game and gather feedback and data from your playtesters or at least your target audience? If yes, do they actually doing math? Or they do simple math? (bigger number = better).
I haven't released the full game, but I've had the prototype playtested by friends. So far they like the easy to read/understand the way the formulas are presented since I'm using Icons to denote STR/DEX/INT/etc... I'm also not using complicated formula, mostly simple Stat x coefficient. Dmg mitigation is calculated separately, and they can see how much % dmg reduction from Armor(Def) or Resist(Mdf).

So let's say the formula for a skill is Intellect (Mat) X 3 fire dmg. It would look like this in-game:
Deals Intellect.pngIntellect.pngIntellect.png Fire Damage.
These are the icons I use for my stats: (Strength, Intellect, Dexterity, Armor, Resist, Speed)
Stats.png
If a skill's formula has fraction/decimal in it, I would cut the icon in half diagonally. Like if it did x 1.5 for example. I don't have anything that's not a multiple of 0.5.

Edit: This is how a skill that deals (Strength X 1.5) + (Intellect X 1.5) would look:
Intellect.pngIntellect.pngStrength.png

I feel this way is much better than simply saying "deals heavy fire damage" or something. This is simple enough for even a child to understand while showing the player the skill's actual formula.

If there was a way to have the game preview the actual dmg something would do, I would just show that. But I wouldn't know how to implement such a thing atm.

Then it's not a good citation.
Fair enough, I agree it wasn't a good quote. I was just disagreeing w/ the idea of a blanket statement overall.
 
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I just want to weigh in real quickly on whether it's okay to lie to your players about RNG percentages at all (since earlier in the thread I said that it violates trust between the game and player):
  • If it is always in favor of the player, it's generally okay.
    • However, you must do it in a way that your player never figures it out, or it greatly cheapens their experience (there have been examples of this all throughout video gaming - see the Extra Credits video on dynamic difficulty, for instance).
  • If it is ever against the player, it is not okay. Do not do it.
    • The only way this would be OK would be if you turn the fudging into a unique mechanic that you present upfront - for example, certain enemies in the game have a "deceptive" trait that messes with the percentages the player sees, or the game's theme involves some kind of astral tricksters that are screwing with the player and this is one of the ways they do it. Even then, I'd only attempt this kind of thing as a very experienced designer.
  • If the game involves any type of PvP content, it is not okay (because helping one player unfairly hurts the other). Do not do it.
    • The method for biasing Critical rolls in League of Legends, the way I understand it, will still give you right around 250 Crits in 1000 attacks. If you attack several times in a row, and you get long strings of Crits or non-Crits, the next roll(s) will be biased against that same result. This doesn't necessarily favor the player who is building Crit builds; it just makes the outcomes of skirmishes less based on lucky/unlucky rolls (and even then some players don't like the way that a truly random RNG roll is being influenced).
 

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