Maliki79

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So... it's a punishing game. Any reason for that? How do you signpost it?
It's not my intention to make it punishing. Challenging? Yes. But not particularly punishing.

Nice! Lots of free levels!
The levels don't actually mean as much as they typically might in other games.

They tend to play a fairly large role in almost every RPG. I could even boast that about mine, it's so common. The question then becomes:

What elemental skills do you have? Far more efficient to use "Fire" as a skill than to put it on a sword that breaks.
Non-Physical elements only exist natively on magic skills which tend to cost a lot of MP as compared to weapon skills and have a charge time which could be up to two turns or higher. So putting elements on a weapon could be advantageous when pitted against certain enemies.

My question is: "Would that boss even be a threat if I'm so overleveled that I can effectively destroy it in a few hits?". Because... with the way your XP Item thing sounds... Yeah, I definitely could and would and should. Much better than interacting with a mechanic that is basically bound to be excessively annoying.
That's actually something I do need to playtest more on. I don't want to, but I might need to put some sort of cap on leveling to keep players from game breaking stat levels. I am working on that, but it will def take time.

One of your biggest hurdles is going to be "Menu Fatigue". Something that ensured I basically cut down my skill lists to 6-9 skills and no more (to avoid scrolling). Something that ensured I basically cut down Consumable Lists to around 20 items. The less time my players spend in menus, the better off the experience will be. Especially since the action doesn't stop for 10-20 seconds at a time to scroll a list of equipment and pick a new one after the old one broke.
Again, I'll have to test and see just how much of a problem this becomes. This one is especially subjective. I don't mind the menus as much, but that doesn't mean my audience won't either.
And by the by, I do limit the amount of battle items to about 10 so they aren't clogging the menu up during battles. I also tried to make item categories to help when out of battles.

Jeeze, if I need to manage more than two... Yeah, that's not going to feel good for me as a player. I'm perfectly happy managing one set of armor. Put it on, forget about it. Equip a single weapon, forget about it. Navigate the menu again when I get an upgrade.
So a bit of info to maybe provide some context: In my game, you have 4 main characters. They all can equip most equips and thus learn almost any and all skills in the game.
The player also has a great deal of agency when increasing the PC's stats.
So, depending on the situation, you might want everyone donning heavy armor and packing swords. Or, half of them take up a staff. Maybe one needs to steal a few items, so they get the thief gear. But the monster gets mad if you steal an item and nukes the party and you have to steal 2 items before you can get to what you need...
So everyone is a thief and then someone has to run away right after the steals are done! So a player might have sets of gear for each PC for each situation. I feel that overcoming these scenarios is part of the fun and giving tools with a small negative helps making those choices more interesting.
And if durability doesn't go down from skill usage... Man, let me save my swords and staves and just cast Firajajagigaburnboom every single turn. Cuts down on the amount of Durability I got to deal with.
I have two weapons that can cast advanced magic. One does take durability damage from the spells.
Of course, the one that does has an effect which not only boast the spells but provides other bonuses as well.
Again, player choice should be interesting.

Sure, shoot me a PM when you're ready, I'll take a look. I'll see how I can break it for you.
It won't happen today, but I will def keep you in mind. Thank you for that.

But, alas, if you describe your system from your game and give incomplete information... you get incomplete answers. You need to expect that going in.

It isn't really useful to say, "You can't critique it because you haven't played it yet!". This is a weird sort of gatekeeping that is intended to shut down criticism because it can't be handled.
While I know these forums are for game devs, the vast majority are also the players.
I simply can't give ALL The pertinent data from my battle system away. So I am sorry if I leave a few details out. A lot of my systems kinda blend into each other and I didn't think I needed to reveal too much outside of the OP topic.

Is swapping equipment around because it breaks fun? Why? What makes it fun?
I like the idea of the tension it could cause in battle. You're three good FireFlipimOffaLotta spells from victory when your staff cracks in two! No one else has a staff strong enough to get the spell out at the potency you need so what do you do?
I don't want to stress my players out, but I want those moments when they can answer the above question successfully to be something they are proud of finding on there own.

Pick a reason. It could be just as simple as working on one thing every single day to ensure progress is made. If you need an excuse to work on your game, you probably won't ever finish it. If you need motivation, you can only find that within yourself.
I'm a bit of a family man, so while I can read these forums and occasionally work on a plugin request or two, going in on my game design is more difficult. Just an excuse, of course... I'll have to find that motivation somewhere.

Plus, there's one person on these forums who has routinely told me all the flaws in every single one of my systems and helped me get better by throwing walls of text back at me and making me consider my own points of view. If nothing else, I want to toss the demo their way and see if what they thought my game was matches up to what it is. I do so enjoy my friendly rivalry with them. Maybe... just a little... I want to figure out how to impress them. And maybe... just a little... give them some material that they can launch their own ideas off of. That makes me happy.
Ooooo... I think I know who you mean! I'm sure they mean well, but they can be cringe-worthy at times. :)
sounds like you only playtesting with 1 mindset (the perfectionist) which seems to actually be the focal point of most of @Tai_MT critiques.
Not sure if you were addressing me there, but I actually try to test my game with different playstyles in mind. While ultimately, mine is a min-maxer's dream game, I'd like to think anyone can try it out and have fun without having to dive too far into the game's mechanics. Test, test, TEST!
 

Tai_MT

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It's not my intention to make it punishing. Challenging? Yes. But not particularly punishing.

With the limited explanation you gave, it sounds like it's punishing in that regard. If I fail to bring enough equipment and it all breaks... my fault, I lose the file as a result.

Early on in my own project I had to "draw the lines" for what I would and would not tolerate from players. A few of those lines, I had to move a little. Early on, it was pointed out to me that it would be real easy to soft-lock my game within the first 10 minutes of gameplay. I lowered the difficulty bar quite a bit as a result. I didn't put safety nets in (because I want players thinking about everything, and not forgetting anything), but I drastically reduced what I was asking from the player in several instances to avoid many early "soft lock" scenarios.

The levels don't actually mean as much as they typically might in other games.

You'll have to be careful with this, then. If it leans too far in the other direction where levels are pretty much meaningless... Then there's no reason to have the secondary feature on those items.

It's very difficult to create something with "two intended uses" and both of those uses are equally valuable to any given player.

The example I frequently like to give are my "Diamonds", which are a Collectible. You can sell each one for 50,000 Gold and never worry about money again (or maybe for quite a while), but you lock yourself out of the unique "Relics" at the end of the trade-in list.

I had to rework this a couple times. I had a quest that required you turn every single Diamond in. I changed it to just "finding" the Diamonds. This allowed Completionists AND Speedrunners to be happy. I also had to change the flavor text on the Diamonds to ensure players knew there was a quest associated with them to prevent "accidental sale". Finally, I had to accept that even if I wanted everyone to do the quest... it was acceptable to sell every single Diamond in the game, and your power was directly linked to equipment rather than stats... so even if you had 6,000,000,000 Gold... you could still only buy the equipment for the area or only 99 of any Consumable currently available... and the rest would gather dust in your pocket.

There's a domino effect when you do things like this. Too far one way and things end up working a specific way. Too far the other way, and they work a lot differently.

Non-Physical elements only exist natively on magic skills which tend to cost a lot of MP as compared to weapon skills and have a charge time which could be up to two turns or higher. So putting elements on a weapon could be advantageous when pitted against certain enemies.

Which might mean it's not worth it to cast spells then if you can mash attack to end combat much quicker. The stats your characters have are probably going to highly influence the strategy players use here. If I could dump enough points into defense... I could wait around for the two turns to cast spells rather than lower Durability, since I'm not really in any danger...

That's actually something I do need to playtest more on. I don't want to, but I might need to put some sort of cap on leveling to keep players from game breaking stat levels. I am working on that, but it will def take time.


Again, I'll have to test and see just how much of a problem this becomes. This one is especially subjective. I don't mind the menus as much, but that doesn't mean my audience won't either.
And by the by, I do limit the amount of battle items to about 10 so they aren't clogging the menu up during battles. I also tried to make item categories to help when out of battles.

Playtesting is going to be your most useful tool. Plans never survive contact with the enemy. Doesn't matter how you envision something working in your head... your players are going to muck it up. They're going to miss the signposting. They're going to play the game in unpredictable ways you didn't anticipate. They are going to find exploits you didn't plan on having in the game. They might not even find the same things fun that you find fun... or rather... you might have fun putting the game together so you think the game is fun... but they don't find the game fun to play, because they don't have the same investment you do.

Playtest always. Constantly.

If you can, get video recordings of people who playtest for you. Examining gameplay is a good way to see how people will play the game unprompted.

So a bit of info to maybe provide some context: In my game, you have 4 main characters. They all can equip most equips and thus learn almost any and all skills in the game.
The player also has a great deal of agency when increasing the PC's stats.
So, depending on the situation, you might want everyone donning heavy armor and packing swords. Or, half of them take up a staff. Maybe one needs to steal a few items, so they get the thief gear. But the monster gets mad if you steal an item and nukes the party and you have to steal 2 items before you can get to what you need...
So everyone is a thief and then someone has to run away right after the steals are done! So a player might have sets of gear for each PC for each situation. I feel that overcoming these scenarios is part of the fun and giving tools with a small negative helps making those choices more interesting.

This sounds more daunting. I'll have to carry multiple sets of equipment for multiple party members and then multiple backups because it'll all break...

Yeah, now I really don't want to use the upgrades on the equipment.

This sounds like it could easily get overwhelming to a player.

I have two weapons that can cast advanced magic. One does take durability damage from the spells.
Of course, the one that does has an effect which not only boast the spells but provides other bonuses as well.
Again, player choice should be interesting.

Player choice is always interesting. Especially when you frame it in interesting ways.

It won't happen today, but I will def keep you in mind. Thank you for that.

No problem.

While I know these forums are for game devs, the vast majority are also the players.
I simply can't give ALL The pertinent data from my battle system away. So I am sorry if I leave a few details out. A lot of my systems kinda blend into each other and I didn't think I needed to reveal too much outside of the OP topic.

I'm not saying you have to give all the details of your system. Most people here don't. You just have to remember that not everyone you talk to is going to have all the information about your game that you do.

I know how intricate and overlapping all my game systems are and how they all work together and interact. But, splitting them off to explain them inevitably means I get questions/critiques about things I need to solve... that I've actually solved with a different system.

But, I also try to give all the relevant data up front as well as most of the "common issues" and my solutions to them at the same time.

Sort of like, "Yes, I know it's more efficient to buy a lot of the cheap stats rather than the expensive ones at the end of the game... but this is the end of the game, the player doesn't know this shop exists until the end of the game, and I honestly don't care if they want to do something tedious at the end because the point is to drain their wallet before the game is over."

I like the idea of the tension it could cause in battle. You're three good FireFlipimOffaLotta spells from victory when your staff cracks in two! No one else has a staff strong enough to get the spell out at the potency you need so what do you do?
I don't want to stress my players out, but I want those moments when they can answer the above question successfully to be something they are proud of finding on there own.

You'll just need to make sure that these moments are happening often enough to justify the durability system's existence then. You'll also need to make sure that the majority of your players find these moments "fun".

I'm often reminded of the "X-Com 2" issue that they had when they introduced timers on every single mission. They did this to "create tension" and to "get the player to have more moments where wild and crazy stuff happens and you might lose someone!"

They failed to realize that this isn't who their audience is. People play Tactical games to "play safe". It's not fun to "watch chaos unfold because you made bad decisions". It's fun when you make all the correct decisions, after a carefully calculated game... and then you get blindsided by something you didn't prepare for. It's not fun to race a clock in a tactical game. It's not fun to play recklessly in a tactical game. Wrong audience for such a gameplay mechanic. It's fun to let the players be as tactical as possible... and then something goes wrong, but they're "too far ahead" to want to savescum. The original X-Com was like this. You could complete almost the whole mission and just have one alien left to track down... and BAM, it blows up your dropship with a rocket launcher or grenades... or kills 3 of your best men, and you're already like an hour or more into this mission and it went smooth up to this point. So, now you're scrambling to not lose any more and to mop up as quickly as possible to save the injured as well as kill the rocket launcher guy before he can do more damage... These games are fun because carefully laid plans went up in smoke. They're not fun because you have to haphazardly make individual decisions and HOPE you don't get screwed.

But, that's part of playtesting. Making sure your game actually does what you want it to do for the audience it's designed for.

I'm a bit of a family man, so while I can read these forums and occasionally work on a plugin request or two, going in on my game design is more difficult. Just an excuse, of course... I'll have to find that motivation somewhere.

I'll give you the same advice I give everyone else on the subject. You don't have to design 1 hour of gameplay every single day. Take 5 minutes and design an animation. Take 2 minutes and create a weapon, armor piece, or item. If that's all you did for the day, then good job. You made progress. If you have time later to make a 2 minute cutscene, even better. But, as long as you're always doing SOMETHING on your game, you'll be making progress.

Ooooo... I think I know who you mean! I'm sure they mean well, but they can be cringe-worthy at times. :)

Eh, not sure who you're talking about. The person I'm referring to really doesn't seem all the "cringey" to me, I guess? We have pretty spirited debates though and have different enjoyment out of games, so it's always fun to compare experiences and analyze things from our particular points of view. We sort of push each other when we get into debates and I find that to be a lot of fun. They're rarely even "get rude to each other" debates either. It's a lot of "If X, then Y" type stuff and we dive into details. We even once had a multi-page debate on the NUMBERS of healing once. Like... trying to establish the exact point when Healing with Consumables would be the same as healing with MP. I think we also had one about Boss Damage and such at one point too. Yeah... multi-page discussion where we basically just crunched numbers at each other. Quite fun.
 

Frostorm

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Not sure if you were addressing me there, but I actually try to test my game with different playstyles in mind. While ultimately, mine is a min-maxer's dream game, I'd like to think anyone can try it out and have fun without having to dive too far into the game's mechanics. Test, test, TEST!
Hmm, I'm not too sure if frequent in-combat equipment swapping would lead to a "min-maxer's dream game". As a min-maxer myself, I tend to prefer a single set of BiS (best-in-slot) equipment on my character. Basically, I'll do my research for said game and find all the best pieces of gear for each slot and then let the numbers do the work. I'm trying to imagine having to manage 3-6 sets of gear for 4 characters, each w/ probably 6-8 slots to fill. So that's anywhere from 72 to 192 pieces of equipment to keep track of!
 

Maliki79

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Hmm, I'm not too sure if frequent in-combat equipment swapping would lead to a "min-maxer's dream game". As a min-maxer myself, I tend to prefer a single set of BiS (best-in-slot) equipment on my character. Basically, I'll do my research for said game and find all the best pieces of gear for each slot and then let the numbers do the work. I'm trying to imagine having to manage 3-6 sets of gear for 4 characters, each w/ probably 6-8 slots to fill. So that's anywhere from 72 to 192 pieces of equipment to keep track of!
I'm pretty sure a main set of gear could be created. But in the meantime, I think players would experiment a bit to find what works best.

Then the situational aspects would come into play. Like that really REALLY strong Fire sword not helping against a Fire-eater or needing extra agility and evasion for an enemy that is slow but can 1-shot any one PC.

And technically, there's only 4 slots worth considering: 2 weapon slots, a headgear and body gear. As of this writing, head and body equips can't be changed in battle. So I doubt you'd have to juggle around as many sets of gear as you think you would.
 

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