Tai_MT

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It's really all about considering what the feature is meant to do, thinking through the problems it creates and everything that it changes, and not just slapping them on just because reasons.
- Consider how it will actually effect your players. (not just how you want it to work, like Breath of the Wild's durability system not really causing players to change up their weapons)
- Think like an exploiter as well, can the feature be completely broken like @Tai_MT and @ericv00 did to the games they played?
- Does it ultimately accomplish the goal of the game?

Not to sound like I'm an expert or anything, as I'm not, I'm practically just regurgitating something someone said somewhere anyways. :p

I say this constantly. It's not said ENOUGH on these forums, if we're honest. People aren't CHALLENGED enough on their features on these forums.

Every feature implemented needs to answer all the baseline questions:
1. Why does this need to be in the game?
2. What behavior do you want your player to have in the game/feature?
3. Is the feature/system fun?
4. If it were removed, does your game lose anything?
5. Does this feature/system synergize with anything else in the game (story, other systems, characters, themes)?
6. How does the system/feature affect gameplay (need to playtest!)?

So often, all we have is, "I'm implementing X because it should solve perceived issue Y". Or, "I'm implementing A because a game I played used it, and that game was fun, so A should be fun through osmosis or just by association!"

I used to spend a lot of time on these forums forcing people to confront those 6 questions and telling them in what ways their current or planned implementation would fail 3 or more of those questions and how I'd even exploit those things...

But, the lack of listening and the eagerness to start arguments tended to make such things... pointless. Likewise, it has earned me a reputation among some of those people as "rude" or other things.

But, this is what you need to confront with EVERY mechanic and feature you implement. It is something to be mindful of everytime you play a game with a feature you don't like. I'd wager any that you are actively annoyed with having to engage with have at least 2 of those questions as "failure points". Systems/Mechanics/Features that "enrage" typically have at least 4 of those "failure points".

Heck, it took years to convince enough people on these forums that "XP Scaling" and "Level Scaling" were silly ideas. I can't count the amount of times I had to post to various people on here all the ways in which those were massively exploitable and how lazy such devs were being by implementing such things. Granted, I wasn't the only one hammering this, but when it started, the argument for XP Scaling and Level Scaling to "preserve difficulty" was a very hard uphill battle against a majority of forum users.

At least I'm also finally starting to see several less people touting "On Screen Encounters" as the "be all" and "end all" of encounter systems, too. We're finally getting a lot more devs considering just what it is they're implementing when they use these, rather than just implementing because, "nobody likes random encounters".

It's a long and slow road to get devs to realize they need to confront those 6 questions and they need to listen to people forcing them to confront those questions.

All systems and features and mechanics CAN be done well. They pretty much can. But, not enough people are willing to listen to HOW that can be done... because that means having to admit that they were wrong in some capacity. And, hey, being a creative means your ego is pretty much everything.

It is what it is.
 

Nenen

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You're probably one of the sources for whatever good I said, more likely then not. :)

5. Does this feature/system synergize with anything else in the game (story, other systems, characters, themes)?

This reminds me of something I read in a book 'Video Game Storytelling' (by Evan Skolnick I believe) where everything in a game tells something about the story. And so proper storytelling within videogames includes every facet.

So having the player slaughter thousands of people one moment, and the next the MC is talking about being such a pacifist, either means this guy is screwed up in the head or the storytelling isn't in sync with the gameplay.

...
I'm not sure if everybody would define this as a 'gameplay' mechanic, but when you have a system where characters can display their dislike for actions you take, even outright saying that
'If you do this, I hate you and I'll have no part in this.' and then they just help you do the deed...

That's something I dislike. And this happened in KotOR (one of my favorites).
At some point, the Character needs to either just Not help, or stand in your way.
 

Frostorm

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Another mechanic I dislike: time-limited content

As if microtransactions and gacha mechanics weren't bad enough! Now I only have a limited amount of time to get that awesome new unit or run the dungeon that drops what I need. What's worse is that these 3 mechanics are totally synergistic and mobile game devs know it.

There was this weapon I wanted to get for Aranea (a WotV unit from FFXV) called the Stoss Spear, but the dungeon where the crafting mats for the spear are dropped was only available for a certain number of days. In the end, I was like 3 items short of being able to craft it and I probably won't get a chance for another year or so...
 

Tai_MT

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I feel like every feature should fall back into the "gameplay loop". It should all exist in a "feedback loop" of sorts. Things shouldn't "fall out of line" with what the rest of the game is telling the players.

I've noticed this issue of "falling out of line" in a lot of games in the last two or three years. Halo Infinite is probably the most recent example I have.

Fighting most of the enemies in the game is just, "there's a multitude of ways to deal with these guys, either through tactics, mobility, or the correct weapon". Then, you hit the Hunters or the "bosses". The Hunters are "you can really only deal with these guys by using heavy weapons and a bajillion grenades because they move too fast for mobility to be a consistently viable option, they only appear in areas where there's really no tactics to be used because they're wide open arenas with no cover or are heavily cramped, and if you can't kill them, you can't move along since all the doors are locked". The bosses act much like the Hunters, except they have some "gimmick" and they pretty much destroy your "mobility" options as well. The invisible enemies and bosses require you give up (or constantly swap!) your "equipment" so that you can throw little sensors around to keep seeing the invisible enemies... or if they're not invisible, there's nothing to really "break up" the fights in the arenas, even with the grapple hook or dodge booster thing. The enemies also all move faster than you do, so you can't even "run away" from them.

That's just the combat loop of "things falling out of line".

You also have vehicles and weapons that "fall out of line" by not being as good as others... as useful as others... or not nearly as durable as they should be, for where you get them. Not to mention, the sheer amount of "F U" the game throws at you when you get some of these things in order to "not let you be powerful". Flying vehicles are a good example... When you finally get them... suddenly everyone is flinging EMPs at you, their damage is jacked way up so anything more than two dozen hits and your vehicle is destroyed... everyone totes around lock on missiles to deal with you... there's a constant string of enemy aircraft also peppering you and destroying your vehicle... Basically, the game gives you flying vehicles... and then tries very hard to make sure you pretty much never use them for ANYTHING except getting places faster... 'cause using them in combat means you have them for about 20 seconds, and then they're destroyed. There isn't even "being skilled" with these flying vehicles either due to the immense amount of "hit scan" weaponry in the game and the amount of "can't dodge this crap" it throws at you.

These are just the easiest examples. This doesn't even get into the "Multiplayer" nonsense that doesn't "fall in line" with the core gameplay loop (Big Team Battles with pretty much no vehicles all match... and the maps you play on don't really support vehicle play all that much or all that well, as an easy example here).

Lots of AAA games are doing this crap these days. Lots of Indie games too.

I really do think that every feature and mechanic should feed back into other systems and mechanics and the story and everything else. It should all synergize.

If your game is about X... EVERYTHING should feed into X. If your game is about characters accepting who they are and learning to overcome things through teamwork... EVERYTHING should play back into acceptance and teamwork. A Poker Minigame doesn't help here unless you can only win it through characters learning who they are... or through teamwork. On and on. The themes and story and player behavior you want to enforce should exist throughout every feature and mechanic and system.
 

Milennin

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I say this constantly. It's not said ENOUGH on these forums, if we're honest. People aren't CHALLENGED enough on their features on these forums.
Who is going to challenge them on it, and how will people know whether the those challenging them actually give useful information or just yell at them about what they want to see in a game? Because this is a forum of amateur game makers who make games for fun, not industry pros with years of real experience to back up their words.

So often, all we have is, "I'm implementing X because it should solve perceived issue Y". Or, "I'm implementing A because a game I played used it, and that game was fun, so A should be fun through osmosis or just by association!"
Which is totally fine for a hobby project. Now, maybe if it's a commercial project, it would be another story.

But, the lack of listening and the eagerness to start arguments tended to make such things... pointless. Likewise, it has earned me a reputation among some of those people as "rude" or other things.
If you've got a reputation for being rude and are even aware of it, then you probably are. Time for some self-reflection, perhaps?

All systems and features and mechanics CAN be done well. They pretty much can. But, not enough people are willing to listen to HOW that can be done... because that means having to admit that they were wrong in some capacity. And, hey, being a creative means your ego is pretty much everything.
Flashbacks to that time you were arguing as if your life depended on it over how bad healing skills are vs. consumables

OK.
 

Tai_MT

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Who is going to challenge them on it, and how will people know whether the those challenging them actually give useful information or just yell at them about what they want to see in a game? Because this is a forum of amateur game makers who make games for fun, not industry pros with years of real experience to back up their words.

Other people. With different experience. More experience. Less experience. If you can't handle criticism, then that's really a "you" problem.

Each piece of criticism received is a chance to learn something new, a new point of view to consider, and an opportunity to do better.

Dismissing criticism because your ego is too large or you think so little of others is sort of the problem and why the devs need to be challenged. After all, if the only reason someone dismisses criticism is because "I don't think it's useful", then how could ever know ANY criticism is useful?

At that point, you're just engaging in "confirmation bias" and only listening to what you want to hear.

Anything else, if you disagree, you have a debate over it and try to find the actual answer.

Which is totally fine for a hobby project. Now, maybe if it's a commercial project, it would be another story.

I mean, I guess if you're just up front about "I have no standards and will do it my way regardless of criticism", then that's on you. No drive or desire to do something better or be better, that's perfectly okay.

Commercial or Hobby project really doesn't factor into it.

Well, unless you want to use "It's a hobby project!" as an excuse for not making things better. I'd rather people just be up front and say, "I don't want to put that much work into it". Actually, I think most people would. Then, other people wouldn't waste time offering feedback or criticism.

But, I mean, if you're advertising what you're doing in your game to people, it's a given that you're opening yourself up to feedback, criticism, and suggestions. Otherwise, why bother posting those things, especially to a forum?

The only other reason I can see doing that is the old Family Guy joke of "I do all my writing at the coffee shop so people can see me writing! Hey, want to watch me write???"


If you've got a reputation for being rude and are even aware of it, then you probably are. Time for some self-reflection, perhaps?

More the opposite. A few random people here or there think I'm rude because they got criticism and feedback, couldn't defend their points of view, and then started using insults or blocking.

Most of the conversations and interactions I have here are more of the friendly interactions you've seen here.

I brought up that they think I'm rude, because of the reason they think I am. Namely, the circumstances in which they decided I was: They were eager to start arguments and couldn't handle criticism.

Flashbacks to that time you were arguing as if your life depended on it over how bad healing skills are vs. consumables

OK.

Which time? I've brought it up numerous times and there's always one or two people who try to prove it wrong... we plug in the numbers they suggest... and I still end up being correct on the subject (I even got to know and enjoy the company of Wavelength because of one of these conversations in which we explored this very topic using hard data and numbers and situations).

I mean, if you have a problem with that, you could go dig up one of the topics and make a reply to prove it wrong. I'll gladly engage in debate with you over it again.

It is sort of weird for someone to reply and say, "Oh, the act that you debated something is the thing you shouldn't have done" and not whether or not said person was even CORRECT in the debate.

I mean, it's tantamount to saying, "I don't care what the correct answer was, I just want to insult that the person cared about it."

To quote Red Vs. Blue and their "Real Life Vs. The Internet" PSA:

"I hate you! I hate the bands that you like!"
 

Hadria

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I feel like there is a story behind the above posts, and I don't know it, so with the risk of being walking into some messy terrain, I wanted to give my 2 cents about criticism and feedback and how I go about handling it.

Every time anyone does a public job, be it for fun or for commercial purposes, it also opens itself to criticism (and by extension feedback). It can come in many forms, it can be soft, harsh, constructive, destructive... And, though it's hard sometimes to take critics for something you made with love and passion, I think it's the job of everyone to be able to take that criticism and break it down in usable data in order to improve ourselves and our work, separating feedback from hate or destructive criticism.

Take for example the no man's sky team. They released a mess of a product, and the launch was an absolute ****show of a mess. What they did? They didn't talk back, they didn't try to defend their mess, no. They focused on working, the lead took the criticism and broke it down and transformed it in usable feedback, and now No Man's Sky is a more than acceptable product with more features they didn't even promise in the first place.

In short, I feel feedback is a vital part in order to improve ourselves, and we should repay the people that took the time to give it with at least the same amount of time reflecting upon it.
 

Eusong

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I feel like there is a story behind the above posts, and I don't know it, so with the risk of being walking into some messy terrain, I wanted to give my 2 cents about criticism and feedback and how I go about handling it.

Every time anyone does a public job, be it for fun or for commercial purposes, it also opens itself to criticism (and by extension feedback). It can come in many forms, it can be soft, harsh, constructive, destructive... And, though it's hard sometimes to take critics for something you made with love and passion, I think it's the job of everyone to be able to take that criticism and break it down in usable data in order to improve ourselves and our work, separating feedback from hate or destructive criticism.

Take for example the no man's sky team. They released a mess of a product, and the launch was an absolute ****show of a mess. What they did? They didn't talk back, they didn't try to defend their mess, no. They focused on working, the lead took the criticism and broke it down and transformed it in usable feedback, and now No Man's Sky is a more than acceptable product with more features they didn't even promise in the first place.

In short, I feel feedback is a vital part in order to improve ourselves, and we should repay the people that took the time to give it with at least the same amount of time reflecting upon it.
I feel bad for the team of No Man's Sky. From what I was told, they had disaster after disaster to the point where even the building they were working in got the entire first floor flooded and nobody could work there. They kept trying to push back the release date but eventually the higher ups ordered them to release the game in the awful state it was in just so it'd get pushed out. I don't even own the game but I appreciate that they've actually continued to work on it despite the fact they likely didn't make much money off of fixing it.
 

pawsplay

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Nah, if the boss is unbeatable you'll have players disliking it because it feels like a waste of their time. If you make it a cutscene only, you'll have players disliking it because they want to play your game, not watch it. It's damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

If the game is mostly about winning fights, and you can't progress the game without forcing the player to lose the fight, that suggests to me the encounter is not well-thought-out. Why is it there?

Imagine you were playing Tetris, and one of the levels was literally unbeatable, and once it defeated it, it was like JUST KIDDING and you went onto the next stage after watching the game play itself for two minutes.
 

Tai_MT

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I feel bad for the team of No Man's Sky. From what I was told, they had disaster after disaster to the point where even the building they were working in got the entire first floor flooded and nobody could work there. They kept trying to push back the release date but eventually the higher ups ordered them to release the game in the awful state it was in just so it'd get pushed out. I don't even own the game but I appreciate that they've actually continued to work on it despite the fact they likely didn't make much money off of fixing it.

For the same token, if we look at the state Final Fantasy XIV Online launched in... Pretty much the same deal. Broken, buggy, laggy, badly designed atrocious mess. Released too early, directionless, etcetera.

They took all the feedback and criticism and burned the game to the ground and started over. The relaunch ended up being SUCH a success that the team behind the game often takes pretty much all criticism under advisement and if something CAN'T be done, they flat out tell the playerbase WHY.

Just to clarify my position on "criticism" and "listening". I'm not using "listening" in the same context as your parents or teachers or boss might. I don't use it as a synonym for "do what I say". A person should listen to ALL criticism. Take it in, narrow issues down, improve based upon the feedback. That's what listening is.

"Player X yelled a bunch of curse words and made hateful remarks about Y thing, and though they weren't detailed in why they didn't like it... maybe I should take a look at it to see if it can be improved. Or, even, reach out to see if I can get some more details on why this player was angry about it."

You don't HAVE to change what you're doing. But you SHOULD keep in mind that things that will irritate/anger/annoy/disappoint your potential audience. All potential pitfalls and suboptimal implementation should be ever present at the front of your mind.

With that in mind, anyone who really cares about their project will never utter the words "Good Enough". They will instead utter the words, "It's the best I can do."

---

@Hadria

Yeah, I don't know the story either. Most likely because I tend to read words and don't care so much about the screennames. I remember individual posts, though I really couldn't tell you who made them with any degree of accuracy.

Best I could probably figure is I upset them in some way or another over some topic or other. Might be one of the 7 or 8 instances of people "getting upset with me". Tricky to remember names when you really don't interact with the same people on a frequent basis.

Especially tricky to remember when you read, "I'm never interacting with you again!" or something similar and so you don't interact with them for a while and forget who they ever were... until they come back. At that point I'm just like, "I have no idea who you are or what your issue with me is. I've long since gotten over it because it really wasn't that important."

My "It Was Tuesday" moments, I suppose (For you, the day M. Bison graced your village with his presence was the most important day of your life. For me, it was Tuesday)?

---

Anyway, probably best to get back on topic, so this will be the last I speak on either of the two subjects in this reply.
 

Nenen

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If the game is mostly about winning fights, and you can't progress the game without forcing the player to lose the fight, that suggests to me the encounter is not well-thought-out. Why is it there?

Imagine you were playing Tetris, and one of the levels was literally unbeatable, and once it defeated it, it was like JUST KIDDING and you went onto the next stage after watching the game play itself for two minutes.

If it's about winning fights, certainly!

Then there's the games that are more about [or just have more emphasis on] telling you a story through the entire game experience. Though one would have to be careful how they design such a fight regardless. - I think FF12 did ok in that regard (though it's been a few years, I was less critical of games back then) when you played the prologue and then the party gets wiped out.

And... I'm the kind of person who loves a good story, even (or especially) when told through the unique ways that videogames have.
 

LAede_Aveugle

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I know what I'm going to say is going to be polemical, but: Turn-base battle. And yes, it's possible to make this mechanic fun, there are plenty of games that can do that (some of my favorite games have this mechanic) but most of the time in RPG maker games it comes down to boring but bearable or BY THE BEARDS OF ZEUS STOP SENDING ME BATS!!!

It's very, very rare to find an RPG maker game where I find the combat really interesting...
 

Tai_MT

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It's very, very rare to find an RPG maker game where I find the combat really interesting...

To be fair... the older I get, the more I find this is true across pretty much all RPG's and their "combat" systems. Too much "turn off brain and coast". Can't do enough interesting things. Can't feel clever, or like you "got one over" on the devs.

It's to the point at the ripe old age of like... 36 (I can never remember how old I am without doing math)? I've effectively seen any and everything a game is going to throw at me. Systems and mechanics that younger players find "interesting" and "new" are things I've been doing since early 1990.

So, I play for the story. Just here for some great characters and a good story. Not looking for mechanics or systems that "innovate" at this point, because nobody really tries that. I'm just looking for mechanics and systems that don't actively annoy me and are easily tolerated for several dozen hours at a time.

So, give me a good story, some gameplay I can tolerate, and I'm a happy RPG player. Start treading into areas of "actively annoying me", and I'm just liable to never really finish your game or even enjoy myself.

Anyway, that's likely why I don't typically enjoy a lot of the nonsense people toss into their games. Like Break Gauges, Crafting Systems, Mini-games, puzzles, mazes, push boulders... on and on and on. I've lived too long. I've done all this stuff before. It's not interesting to me anymore and has become 100% dated. Rehashes and retreads of all the old things games used to do and never evolved past, despite what gamers wanting and finding enjoyable having changed. Relics of a bygone era.

Then again, I do play Ark: Survival Evolved fairly religiously despite every system in it having been... well... done before. But, something about the progression and the world and the challenge (with just the right amount of difficulty and frustration) just keeps drawing me back.

I mean, we've seen "tame creatures" before. We've seen "beat bosses" before. We've seen "explore open world" and "collect notes" before. We've seen "custom cooking recipes" and "crafting" before. Seen all that stuff before. But... it somehow puts it together in a specific way to make me engaged and entertained.

So... you know... Do mechanics well. Let them synergize with everything. Or, have your own interesting spin on them that provides engagement.

Even the crafting system is quite nice in Ark. Can't learn EVERY "recipe" in the game. But, each new thing is a new set of exploration. I learned a recipe for a T-Rex Saddle... well now that I can ride one... I NEED to go out and tame one... where do they spawn? How hard are they? Crafting that just pushed me back into the gameplay loop of progression and doing new things. Oh, hey, I ran into this area with this new crafting material... what is this thing for? Let me go looking in my recipes to see what I can make and if anything is interesting... oh hey, this is cool, let me gather some of that resource to craft it! The whole game basically feeds into this loop of progression. Each piece is a breadcrumb into something else. I mean, you just go exploring and... oh hey, a cave. What's in the cave? Oh, it freakin' CRAWLS with enemies that merc you in short order. Okay, let's go craft some good equipment and come back. Okay, conquered the cave, what's at the end? Weird glowy relic thing? What's that do? Oh, you use this at an Obelisk to summon a boss fight? How hard is the boss? Looks pretty hard if it requires I be Level 70 to fight it. Let me tame more dinos and do some breeding and make more saddles. Oh, I beat the boss and unlocked new "high end" recipes. Huh, need to farm the bosses for some of these materials as well as other things. Let me go back into gearing up again and getting more tames...

On and on.

Good gameplay loop.

If you've ever played Factorio... it does something quite similar with mechanics and systems. Each thing feeds right back into the core loop.

Anyway, I've gotten pretty off topic.

The main issue most RPG combat has is that it isn't part of a "core gameplay loop" and it doesn't feed into anything... and nothing feeds back into it. It's this stand-alone thing that lives and dies based upon whether or not it annoys a player, instead of whether or not it's fun.
 

pawsplay

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If it's about winning fights, certainly!

Then there's the games that are more about [or just have more emphasis on] telling you a story through the entire game experience. Though one would have to be careful how they design such a fight regardless. - I think FF12 did ok in that regard (though it's been a few years, I was less critical of games back then) when you played the prologue and then the party gets wiped out.

And... I'm the kind of person who loves a good story, even (or especially) when told through the unique ways that videogames have.

If you're just telling a story, and that's genuinely what you think should happen in the middle of the game, then just use a cutscene.

Normally, when you fight a battle, you choose your tactics to win. Every button press means something. When you are required to lose a fight, you're just mashing buttons. It's not immersive. You're not in the story. You're not in the game. You're in this weird space where the game is reminding you that you're playing a game, but not letting you play it.

Maybe some of those beats and tropes don't belong in a game with a health meter. At the very least, if you need to let the bad guy get away, let the player "win" something from the battle. But really I think it's just not good design. If your game handles battles in a certain way, then the story should make sense in terms of those battles.
 

Nenen

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If you're just telling a story, and that's genuinely what you think should happen in the middle of the game, then just use a cutscene.
I disagree.
It's been discussed by many -to a far better extent then I can- on how cut scenes are among the weakest form of storytelling in videogames [not saying they can't be used, but that it's NOT the go-to tool!]. But I'll try to say something.

A cutscene is just like a mini-movie, entirely passive. (Adding QTE only minimally changes that)
While the ideal form of storytelling in games is when the player experiences, and plays around with it, for themselves. It's happening to them. Not just being shown to them.

a Game example:
The Half-Life series is most vaunted for how it revolutionized storytelling in the FPS genre.
And it would use storytelling moments to teach the player about dangers. (i.e. Fellow scientist getting eaten by something). You look around, you can do things, your character is being controlled by you.

Can you use a cutscene to show an unbeatable foe? Sure. Would the player feel the impossibility of fighting this thing themselves? Not if they don't fight it for themselves.
Plus, the player may get annoyed that they're not playing the game, just watching something.
Nah, if the boss is unbeatable you'll have players disliking it because it feels like a waste of their time. If you make it a cutscene only, you'll have players disliking it because they want to play your game, not watch it. It's damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
So basically what Milennin said.
_____________

Maybe some of those beats and tropes don't belong in a game with a health meter. At the very least, if you need to let the bad guy get away, let the player "win" something from the battle. But really I think it's just not good design. If your game handles battles in a certain way, then the story should make sense in terms of those battles.

I really think that there's a way to make the tropes work, Even in a game with a health meter. It's no doubt a difficult challenge, but it's all about how you approach it.
(And I'm too tired right now to formulate a possible way of doing it)
I like the idea of having the player 'win' something for all their hard work though.

And I really think that everything should tie in together (as Tai_MT put it) so both the way the game handles the battles and the story are working together.
So, for example, don't make a Vegetarian Party RPG be mostly just slaying every creature you meet for exp.

That's all for now.
 

pawsplay

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Can you use a cutscene to show an unbeatable foe? Sure. Would the player feel the impossibility of fighting this thing themselves? Not if they don't fight it for themselves.
Plus, the player may get annoyed that they're not playing the game, just watching something.

An unbeatable battle is that, but worse. There has to be a reason to try to do well in the fight, and it shouldn't just be false hope. Every game with an unbeatable fight automatically has less replay value, for one.

The first time I played FFIV, and I faced off against the Dark Knight, I was like, "Okay, I get it. This is like Luke in the cave. I win by not fighting." And I figured it out fast enough the dialog didn't catch up to me surrendering. It was cute, and it worked in that limited scene. It was a little too obvious but it's something a casual player could figure out and that's perfectly fine and fun. But when I replayed the game, I just wanted to set the controller down and wait.

Literally the only time I thought an unbeatable fight was acceptable was in the first five minutes of the game, as a sort of prologue. And even then, it was "You take 55,000 damage!" and it was over. It wasn't a drawn out thing where you couldn't tell the bad guy was literally unbeatable, it didn't ask you to make choices, and you weren't tempted to spent potions because you didn't have the chance.

But it could have been a thirty second cutscene instead. I don't really like cutscenes much. But replacing a pointless battle with a painless cutscene I think is less bad.
 

RCXGaming

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An unbeatable battle is that, but worse. There has to be a reason to try to do well in the fight, and it shouldn't just be false hope. Every game with an unbeatable fight automatically has less replay value, for one.

The first time I played FFIV, and I faced off against the Dark Knight, I was like, "Okay, I get it. This is like Luke in the cave. I win by not fighting." And I figured it out fast enough the dialog didn't catch up to me surrendering. It was cute, and it worked in that limited scene. It was a little too obvious but it's something a casual player could figure out and that's perfectly fine and fun. But when I replayed the game, I just wanted to set the controller down and wait.

Literally the only time I thought an unbeatable fight was acceptable was in the first five minutes of the game, as a sort of prologue. And even then, it was "You take 55,000 damage!" and it was over. It wasn't a drawn out thing where you couldn't tell the bad guy was literally unbeatable, it didn't ask you to make choices, and you weren't tempted to spent potions because you didn't have the chance.

But it could have been a thirty second cutscene instead. I don't really like cutscenes much. But replacing a pointless battle with a painless cutscene I think is less bad.

See my problem with this kind of thread is that we talk about the mechanics we dislike but we just kind of leave it at dislike and rarely think of ways to make them better.

Like this unbeatable enemy thing - played straight it's very frustrating. You're locked into a battle you know you can't win, and worse still if you don't get wiped out immediately.

That's when you start expanding the concept. How about instead of making them invincible, they're just very hard to defeat, but it is still very possible to do so. And when you do so, you get a special reward you wouldn't have gotten otherwise + altered dialogue for not only the moment but also in the future.

Like "oh my god you're that little gremlin that beat me up back in the starter cave, I could never live down that moment of embarassment", and they get smarter when you fight them in the rematch.

My personal method is to test the absolute limits of your endurance as a player. How much can you get away with before you're forced to retreat for one reason or another? Risk it all and win some, or die trying. I'd argue that's some pretty good replay value. :kaoluv:

(Also it helps that I've been developing a variable function that makes it so your expensive/valuable items come back if you fight these kinds of bosses.)
 
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pawsplay

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So in other words... it's not a good mechanic and when you eliminate it, while leaving other parts of the game intact, it's better.
 

zXManyRegretsXz

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In a narrative standpoint, I think unbeatable bosses can be done well, when you look at it in a way of interactive storytelling and characterization. For example, in Mother 3 (spoilers),
the final boss is The Masked Man, who was Lucas, the protagonist's, brother they thought died. Because of that, the fight is unwinnable as Lucas refuses to fight his brother, so you're stuck just sitting there and taking it, until Claus comes to his senses.
While its not a conventional unbeatable boss since there's technically a victory, it is unbeatable in that there is no standard win condition of reduce enemy HP to 0. I remember FFIV doing a lot of that. Unbeatability due to story beats and eliciting emotions from both player and character is, in my opinion, pretty darn good. I don't think a cutscene could deliver the same kind of feelings. Of course, it's incredibly difficult to pull off, but when it's done well, it's done well.
 

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