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Kitsunekko

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I've had an idea for the past couple of days, but I'm unsure whether or not it'd seem 'fun' or 'fair' to the player character.

The idea is basically this: When you first die (I'm unsure if it should be scripted or not), you'll encounter yourself in a horror setting where you have to escape from monsters and solve puzzles at the same time. If you manage to escape, then you'll be brought back into the game. You can die however many times you want as long as you manage to 'Escape Death'.

When Death first catches you, they'll bring you into their office. They'll offer you a deal--they'll give you one free life to accomplish your task because--if you succeed--it'll make their life a hell of a lot easier. They're a businessperson. They're willing to make cuts to make the company run smoother. And you'll be allowed to continue through the game. However, this is where the debate comes in: The next time you die, you'll be chased by Death. And if Death catches you, they'll take your soul, and the idea is that the save file will be permanently deleted, and you'll have to start from the beginning again.

This is my first game, and I plan for it to be good, and I plan for it to be a fairly decent length. I'm not under any time crunch to finish making it, so I have pretty much all the time in the world to develop it. You get as many lives as you can get away with (think Conker's Bad Fur Day, if dying constituted in you being thrust into horror scenarios that you have to escape), but once you're caught, you're done. The idea is that it'd add a sense of actual risk, rather than you relying on saves when battling monsters and enemies--you have to be careful.

Note, these are the fundamentals for the idea:
  • The first 'life' you get doesn't end until you actually get caught by Death and meet them for the first time.
  • You can die however many times you want before the first meeting with them.
  • Each time you die, you'll be thrown in a horror situation. This will include tense thriller moments, chase sequences, stealth sequences, et cetera. It'd sort of be like a division into a completely different game.
  • When you get caught by Death a second time, your save file will be deleted, as will any save files within the 30-minute threshold of that saved file. I don't know. Still kind of mulling it over.
  • Death will ignore these conditions and resurrect you as many times as necessary to defeat the final boss(es), so you don't need to worry about your save file being deleted at that point.
  • There may be a couple of scripted scenarios where when you die, Death speaks to you instead.
  • Unlimited lives are guaranteed unless you're a N00b like me. Git gud, scrub.
While I think it's a pretty neat idea, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good idea. My questions are thus:
  • Is this a good mechanic to implement in the game?
  • Is this kind of punishment suitable considering the chances that it gives?
  • If this is a decent mechanic to go by but it's unfair as-is, how can it be adjusted to make it fair?
  • Can this mechanic even be implemented in RPG Maker MV as-is?
 

punchybot

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So first and foremost, your game is a game. So it needs to be fun. So you need to ask - will this mechanic be fun for the player?

This is what I imagine with this scenario. I get to quite difficult part of your game. And I die. Now I need to do this mini game to reload. I do it. I try the hard part again. I died again. Now I have to do this mechanic, AGAIN! I do it, and I die, again. Now I am frustrated at this mechanic. So I turn your game off and just reload the game.

Ever play a game that had a long cutscene right before a difficult boss fight? I feel it's like that, but worse.

Now that's me - so I think the question now should be, can I impement this in a fun, non-intrusive way? Probably! I don't know much about horror games. So I am going to talk about it in an RPG speak since I imagine most of us know what those are and how those play considering the name of the engine.

Kingdom Hearts is a game where you can retry a boss fight after you lost. It puts you right back into it. If you die on normal enemies, you need to start at a save point. I feel like something similar can happen here - have Death chase the player when they die and are trekking through the average part of your game. When the player is being challenged - like a boss fight - turn off the mechanic.

OR better yet, use the mechanic to reward the player. Instead of giving the player the ability to retry upon loss, allow them to have a chance at a retry by using this mechanic. If they win, they start over again right then and there. If they die, they need to start again at the save point.

You'll notice I left out perma death. In my opinion that's not fun. So maybe have a difficulty option in your game that allows people to take on such a challenge.

I imagine anything is possible. I could maybe set this up with events since I would only plug it into boss fights. Deletion of save file is probably possible, but would need a plugin.
 
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Kitsunekko

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This is what I imagine with this scenario. I get to quite difficult part of your game. And I die. Now I need to do this mini game to reload. I do it. I try the hard part again. I died again. Now I have to do this mechanic, AGAIN! I do it, and I die, again. Now I am frustrated at this mechanic. So I turn your game off and just reload the game.
I see what you mean. I can understand how that would be incredibly difficult. If I were to hypothetically implement this, then I'd have to take this into consideration.

Kingdom Hearts is a game where you can retry a boss fight after you lost. It puts you right back into it. If you die on normal enemies, you need to start at a save point. I feel like something similar can happen here - have Death chase the player when they are trekking through the average part of your game. When the player is being challenged - like a boss fight - turn off the mechanic.

OR better yet, use the mechanic to reward the player. Instead of giving the player the ability to retry upon loss, allow them to have a chance at a retry by using this mechanic. If they win, they start over again right then and there. If they die, they need to start again at the save point.
That does make a lot of sense. I was thinking that maybe each scene could take place in the general area that you start off in, and that you have to push through what you've already explored, not facing against enemies, trying to solve these puzzles without being caught by Death. Though that would require a lot more thought in terms of programming/eventing and such, it'd make more sense in terms of the situation that you find yourself in.

Perhaps the idea should instead be this: Death grants you immunity from actually dying, but they still have to do their job so you'll be hunted anyway. If you're caught, you'll be dragged either outside of the dungeon or to the very beginning with only some of your health, but if you succeed in escaping, you'll be right where you were before.

Though, my concern with this idea is that it eliminates the threat of 'risk'--if players wanted to, they'd just strong-arm their way through the game and push through Death's carnival of fun and despair by dying over and over again, inching their way closer and closer to the end of the dungeon. The idea is to encourage players to be a bit more careful and thoughtful in their actions, to introduce the idea of an absolute end-all. This is a game that will feature combat, but it'll ideally also consist of strategy and cunning. You're supposed to avoid attacks, not run head-first into them with reckless abandon. And maybe this'll be more applicable with a higher difficulty setting, but I wasn't really planning on adding another difficulty setting at first to begin with.

Perhaps with this taken into consideration, I'll adjust potential plans in the future.

~I really do appreciate you taking the time to let me know what you think of this idea for a mechanic! Feel free to add more if you think of anything else!~
 

Poryg

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If you wish to add it, add it. Choose an audience you wish to cater and go for it. If you wish to cater more audiences, feel free to create multiple difficulties.
 

bgillisp

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Id make it optional, as something they can choose at the start of the game as an optional ironman mode. But I'd not make it the only way to play. Plus tech savvy players can just back up their save files, and replace them if they lose, so all you are really doing is wasting some of their time.

As for the idea, it's actually been done to a degree. There's a 90's game called Spellcraft where if you die, you go to the Land of the Dead. If you escape, you continue. If you die there, its game over, load a new save. However, they also made it so that you *had* to go to the Land of the Dead a few times to get things to continue, so you can't just avoid it completely.
 

Kitsunekko

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Id make it optional, as something they can choose at the start of the game as an optional ironman mode. But I'd not make it the only way to play. Plus tech savvy players can just back up their save files, and replace them if they lose, so all you are really doing is wasting some of their time.

As for the idea, it's actually been done to a degree. There's a 90's game called Spellcraft where if you die, you go to the Land of the Dead. If you escape, you continue. If you die there, its game over, load a new save. However, they also made it so that you *had* to go to the Land of the Dead a few times to get things to continue, so you can't just avoid it completely.
That is true. Games like 'Doki Doki Literature Club' sort of required you to go into your actual files and adjust things. It sort of helped people get a small bit more of an understanding of how to do that. It would make a bit more sense if it were optional, I will admit.

Spellcraft, you say? I'll take a look into that. Maybe I'll play it to see if there's anything I might want to take out of it that could expand on this concept a little further. Is that 'Aspects of Valor' or is there another one that's hidden to me in Google search?
 

bgillisp

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It was Aspects of Valor. It came out in 1992/1993. You'll need the manual to play it though, as you only find clues to create your spells and the manual has the rest. It's also pretty hard in the mid-game as I remember being stuck there for a few days (and this was when I was younger and could just play video games all day), but by then you should have the idea of what it is doing. Though some say the game is a tad repetitive too in the mid-game, so prepare for that.

One neat feature it does is if you accidentally end up in a walking dead scenario with no way to proceed (one way is to run out of money), the game will send you to the land of the dead where there is always a chest with what you need to proceed. So it uses it to get out of walking dead scenarios.

Oh: Also, in the land of the dead, you cannot cast spells. So it is just physical attacks there, nothing else.
 

Kitsunekko

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It was Aspects of Valor. It came out in 1992/1993. You'll need the manual to play it though, as you only find clues to create your spells and the manual has the rest. It's also pretty hard in the mid-game as I remember being stuck there for a few days (and this was when I was younger and could just play video games all day), but by then you should have the idea of what it is doing. Though some say the game is a tad repetitive too in the mid-game, so prepare for that.

One neat feature it does is if you accidentally end up in a walking dead scenario with no way to proceed (one way is to run out of money), the game will send you to the land of the dead where there is always a chest with what you need to proceed. So it uses it to get out of walking dead scenarios.

Oh: Also, in the land of the dead, you cannot cast spells. So it is just physical attacks there, nothing else.
I just read up on it on abandonia, and it does look like an interesting game, so I'll definitely either play it myself or watch a let's play of it on YouTube to conduct 'research'. It's a rather interesting way of utilizing death in-game to not only add more to the game itself but to enable progress, so I'll have to see if I can use a similar way of implementing it in my game. Thank you for the help!
 

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@Kitsunekko Just a little reminder that Games Mechanics Design is not for feedback only on a specific individual project, (though obviously you can use your own project as an example) but hopefully to encourage discussion that people can apply to different games. Therefore, if suggestions do not fit your game, that's okay, it could be just what helps someone else.
 

Kitsunekko

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@Kes I understood, and I'll be sure to keep that in mind in the future. I'll leave my Game Mechanics posts far more open-ended in the future. I'm new to the whole RPG Maker forums and am still trying to get used to things, so I really am sorry if I seem a little unknowing of all of the rules. ^^'

That said, I'm going to see if I can go on ahead and close this thread. It's given me enough to consider for the time being and answered some questions that I had. Thank you everybody for the help!
 

Kes

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If you're sure you want this closed, just Report your opening post and ask for it to be closed.
 

Diretooth

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Going along with the example of Conker's Bad Fur Day, if you have permadeath, you can add rare items in the game which, if they are in your inventory, will bypass the need for this minigame. Death will, instead, take one of the item and put you at the last safe place the player was at. This will allow the player to bypass the minigame (or perhaps they could refuse Death taking it, attempt the minigame, and have Death just take the item upon loss of the minigame) and remove some of the resulting frustration. I'd say adding two or three of these items to a 'section' of the game, let's say spaces in between resting points, one of which is easy to obtain with little to no risk, while the other two are in high risk, high reward areas. This will allow the player the opportunity to have a minimum of lives they can safely acquire, and a maximum they could obtain if they're skilled enough.
Of course, permadeath should be an option, not a feature, especially if the game is difficult.
 

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This thread is being closed, due to being solved. If for some reason you would like this thread re-opened, please report this post and leave a message why. Thank you.

 
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