Randomness Elements in Your Games

Kupotepo

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I see the game makers here usually implement the randomness to create the replayability of their games.

:smile::smile::smile: I can feel that you feel like I am beating a dead horse on this subject. Please hear me out.

RNG = 1. create a challenge feeling or 2. a new discovering feeling 3. let the causal player wins
Too much RNG = create hopelessness to players and unpredictable results to the devs.

“Cosmetic” randomness has no bearing on the strategy or outcome of the game.

“Biased” randomness gives resources unfairly to one player over another; this includes most random events in most games.
1. A slot machine spin mini-game. Some spins are good, some are bad.
2. Loot/drop chance gives resources to some players and nothing to other players.

“Fair” randomness is the rarest type, and the hardest to master. It challenges players to think
strategically in a randomized environment, but does not arbitrarily favor one player over
another.
1. A random setup in Tactical RPGs.
2. Random starting out if the devs ask the player to pick which the character to choose without telling the player of where they are going to land. [WOW RPG games.]

1. the balancing of damage variance.
2. RPG grinding of Random troops
3. Do you have high expectations for RPGs here?
4. Hit Chance degree of randomness: thank you @cthulhusquid for that study.
5. Do you punish the player for grinding?

Important questions that I would like to know are:
1. How do you create a balance of randomness? Do you create the same level of randomness though out your game, expanding the randomness slow in your game or slowly try to eliminate randomness as the player goes further?
2. How do you maintain the optimum of the frustration of players? [I found the mandatory progression puzzle games in the RPG games to get on my nerves.]
3. What is Fair in your definition of balance your game? [Subjective Question]


Thank you for talking with me and sharing your wisdom with game makers here to encourage people not to commit a pitfall that you dislike and protect your feeling like you are being violated of your five senses.
 
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Frostorm

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Holy moly, this is your 10th thread on the front page lol, but I'll bite.
  1. Math. That's my main tool for balancing, before playtesting I mean. RNG is inherent in the game by default, that's what things like Hit/Crit/Counter chance is based on. The numbers simply need to work with the game overall. (sometimes easier said than done) I keep randomness minimal if possible and consistent throughout.
  2. Not sure what puzzles have to do with RNG, unless specifically based around it. Anyways, I try to give players agency in regards to the various rates w/ RNG elements. So offer gear that affects the aforementioned things like Hit/Crit/Counter etc... And/or define your stats to affect such things.
  3. Fair is when things don't feel out of my expected control, in my opinion. Make sure the player understands your game mechanics especially if there's RNG involved.
Also, to answer your question #5 in your 1st set of questions (it's confusing how you have 2 sets of questions with overlapping numbers btw): No, I don't punish players for grinding. That just seems silly. If they want to put in the time and effort to go above and beyond, why should they be penalized for that? The time and effort invested is enough of a cost as it is.

For your 1st question #3: Sort of, as in I only pay attention to the projects that seem to have genuine effort being put in. Of course, I'm not expecting AAA quality, but definitely much higher than some of the Youtube videos I've seen of other RM games...

1st #1: As I've stated earlier, this is where math is your best friend. Do lots of theorycrafting and plug in numbers for everything you can think of in every permutation you can conceive. Spreadsheets help. Playtesting is of course another vital tool, but I'm referring to the step even before that. When you're just creating a brand new damage formula for skills, for example, it helps to know the ballpark (which requires an intimate understanding of all your game's systems and mechanics).
 
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Kupotepo

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@Frostorm, thank you for your funniness and your contribution.
My point of this thread to understand when your randomness system becomes annoying to players who just want to move on.
There are two different schools of thought when I talk about this.
The casual players: they prefer the experience of the game and just want to be an observer.
The professional players: they prefer to find the game-breaking path and really really enjoy the time-consuming challenge.
 
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Frostorm

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Well, there are a lot of situations where randomness could be utilized and each scenario has different expectations. Are you talking about combat? Or loot/drop chance? Or enemies encountered?
 

Kupotepo

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Are you talking about combat? Or loot/drop chance? Or enemies encountered?
I would like to talk about all of those subjects. Thank you for the super long response.
:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:Now, you make me think now that the RPG designing is like a strategy game. Ok, I give the examples before all of the physicists, the statisticians, the cryptographers, and the programmers display their complex mathematical formulas to non-professional people.
 
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Frostorm

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These are my personal preferences:

Combat
  • <10% damage variance
  • adjustable RNG rates (hit/crit/counter/etc) via gear/skills/stats/etc
  • base hit chance >80% (before any bonuses)
  • consistent resource regeneration if offered at all
Loot
  • common items can be totally random, idc
  • rare and unique items should NOT be random but offered as a boss drop, hidden chest, or reward
  • if a boss can drop more than 1 unique or rare item and doesn't drop what I want, I will tend to restart to the last save file and retry (save scumming)
Encounters
  • randomness here is totally fine by me regarding the enemy type
  • randomness should be relatively consistent in regards to frequency
  • Edit: I tend to prefer visible enemies on the map though...
 
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Kupotepo

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@Frostorm, sorry, my brain runs in the vogue ideas. I think to think of creative ways for breaking either deterministic gameplay or a randomness fun time gameplay.
Beyond success-vs-failure of hit/miss: I am thinking about instead of missed attack the character can hit another unintended target. [This hidden main purpose of this thread about when the players lose something or get a game over screen, how do you try to soften to blow to their egos?]
 
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Frostorm

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@Kupotepo If you don't want to annoy players for missing an attack, you could implement glancing blows into your game. Basically, a glancing blow deals reduced damage but that's still better than none lol. The hitting another target sounds fine from a mathematical standpoint, but it doesn't really make sense thematically. It would lessen immersion for me because the only way that makes sense is if all the enemies are hugging each other or otherwise just standing really really close.
 

Kupotepo

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you could implement glancing blows into your game.
Sorry, I do not understand of what you have said. Sorry for my English comprehension. May you please provide me examples? Maybe I understand you better. Sorry for your inconvenience.

Also, I would like to know the logic of why Final Fantasy wished to create gambler and mime classes. The company tried to gamble the player experience.
 
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Frostorm

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A glancing blow works like a critical hit in reverse. Instead of doing extra damage, it does less damage. Basically, it makes a roll if your attack misses, and if the roll succeeds, you'll do some damage instead of 0 damage.

Definition of glancing blow: a blow with less than full force that falls off to one side
Example: The falling tile struck him with a glancing blow on the head.


[This hidden main purpose of this thread about when the players lose something or get a game over screen, how do you try to soften to blow to their egos?]
They can suck it up and deal with it lol. I'm j/k, but honestly, you don't want to baby the player and make everything too easy. The fun is usually in the challenge, and that will include failure at times. But in regards to randomness/RNG, if they got a game over due to something beyond their control, that's when you know you can improve on your game's design/mechanics. If the failure was preventable, that's simply on them for being a bad player.
 
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Kupotepo

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@Frostorm, I think it is a great idea. Thank you for explaining. I get it now. I like the second attack chance. I see people did that on the two-swords class or a rogue class. Ok, I see it just the common practice.
 

Willibab

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Damaging players overbloated egos just sounds like fun to me xD

I tend to have a lot of RNG as i like it, but i always limit the bonuses so that you will never really be op, but if you are lucky you will have an easier time....for awhile. I balance based on the best possible stuff you can get at any point, it should be easy to beat things with it, but ofc...unlikely.

I never thought of glancing blows, i always thought it was a brilliant system in vanilla wow, combined with the defense system. Seems like a pain to replicate tho.
 

Frostorm

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I forgot to comment on states/status effects. To balance the RNG aspect of it, I like to attribute a certain value for every effect that way when I multiply it by its proc chance, I get the effect's actual worth. The key is attributing the correct value in the 1st place, which isn't always easy for unusual effects. For instance, a slow is less valuable than an immobilize effect, which is less valuable than a stun. How much so depends on all the other systems and mechanics in your game. Tune accordingly.

So if a skill has a 100% chance to slow (-50%), ask yourself what the proc chance of a stun skill should be. Assuming the same cost/cooldown/duration cuz that will alter the value of the skill in question.
 
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Kupotepo

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I heard that increasing the number of rolls made in your combat system helps players to be ok. If someone has to fail several rolls in a row and get a missed attack, then that is less random because multiple rolls are likely to average out of damage.

It is still random, but players would feel ok.

@Willibab, thank you for your contribution here and for sharing your thoughts.
 
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Tai_MT

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1. How do you create a balance of randomness? Do you create the same level of randomness though out your game, expanding the randomness slow in your game or slowly try to eliminate randomness as the player goes further?

"Balance" is subjective. It is whatever the dev decides it is. It is entirely possible to balance a game around missing more frequently than hitting on both sides of the game. Will it be fun? Probably not. But, it will be "balanced".

Every piece of "randomness" in my game is able to be tweaked by the player. Thus, "balance" is left up to the player to accomplish. If they say anything about RNG hurting them at all, I need only point out all the ways they could've fixed it and chose not to do so.

If you lose, it's your fault.

2. How do you maintain the optimum of the frustration of players? [I found the mandatory progression puzzle games in the RPG games to get on my nerves.]

Frustration at its "optimum" in my opinion is merely that it is "momentary". It can be semi-frequent, but always has to be "momentary". That is, it doesn't last long, figuring out what wrong is an easy process, and it doesn't set you back all that much.

Players should fail when they're playing incorrectly. That failure should immediately teach them what went wrong and why. They should then be able to do better on the next attempt, even if they don't beat the obstacle.

3. What is Fair in your definition of balance your game? [Subjective Question]


"Fair" is going to change from player to player. Coddled players see anything short of letting them beat every single game they play with ease as "unfair". Hardcore players like me see only the most egregious "how the heck am I supposed to beat this!?" moments as unfair (or things 100% out of my control as a player).

In my current game, "balance" is just me using monsters to "troll" my players. It has nothing to do with anything except that. I troll my players and give them the tools to try to figure out how to stop it or avoid it or use the troll back against my monsters. Players are wildly overpowered, but so are the monsters. Stats don't matter as much as optimizing your economy of actions and your equipment.

"Balance" for me is... if my monsters beat you... it's your fault. If you beat my monsters... its because you are skilled enough to do so. Everything I design in the game is with those tenets in mind.
 

Kupotepo

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@Tai_MT, thank you for your time to answer my questions.
Thank you for reminding me of the danger of swing of another extreme side of this topic. It is true if the devs did not subjective balance the systems. It is so easy that insulting the players' intelligence. :kaojoy::kaojoy::kaojoy:

@Tai_MT, so hahahahah, I should be the anti-hero again and try to block player with minions. Seriously, I forget that not all of players are fractal mind millennials. That is true, I have a faith in the player's maturity.
 
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Frostorm

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Every piece of "randomness" in my game is able to be tweaked by the player. Thus, "balance" is left up to the player to accomplish. If they say anything about RNG hurting them at all, I need only point out all the ways they could've fixed it and chose not to do so.

If you lose, it's your fault.
I'm an avid supporter of this philosophy. I wish this was the industry standard.
 

Wavelength

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Moved to Game Mechanics Design at your request.

I might have a lot more to say on this topic later on, but for now I wanted to address this:
I see the game makers here usually implement the randomness to create the replayability of their games.
The type of "RNG" we usually discuss here, especially in the context of RPG's, is not intended to enhance replayability, but rather to cause variance in the result of actions (and outcome of battles), or sometimes just to artificially add difficulty to a game that lacks it. A player won't decide to try your game more just because the slot machine results in a win or a loss the first time around.

RNG elements do sometimes add replayability in other genres (e.g. a randomized map in Civilization or a randomized planet in No Man's Sky can feel like an entirely different experience to your last play), but this is fundamentally different than a JRPG where your goal is simply to win each battle and travel to the plot flags in the story. The experience feels pretty similar each time you play (in most RPGs at least).

Some RPGs do create replayability by branching their story (and the entire experience that accompanies the story) at certain points - and that can be effective for creating replay value (though some would argue that a 40-hour epic doesn't need replayability!). But that's usually done through asking the player to make important decisions, rather than through an RNG roll or any other kind of uncontrollable randomness. Why? Because it's easier for the player to see the cause-and-effect this way (and realize that if they play again, they can choose a different option and see a completely different set of events play out), and also because it's far more satisfying to know that you had control over the way that things played out, rather than some RNG roll that forced you down a certain path!
 

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