Suggestions for being trapped in dunegeon with no health potions?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Switz, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. Switz

    Switz Veteran Veteran

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    So this is a area I hope all of us have put a lot of thought in. Nothing worse than making a player give up because they just cannot complete a dungeon they cannot leave because they ran out of items to keep them alive.

    The obvious answers to this are:

    -Increase drop rates and chests in the dungeon
    - Auto-Save feature before entering dungeon.

    So onto the creative side of things. Anyone have any different answers to this potential issue?
     
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  2. Finnuval

    Finnuval World (his)story builder and barrel of ideas Veteran

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    If the dungeon is particullay large or difficult having a save spot that Also heals at the beginning and end are useful in my opinion.
     
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  3. JosephSeraph

    JosephSeraph White Mage Restaff

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    Some popular solutions to this:

    -Dungeon escape items / skills
    -Game overs that boot you up elsewhere at a penalty (or, sometimes, even at a bonus)
    -Having an encounter system that allows you to get around with no battles if you're skillful

    Now of course, some of these play against the risk/reward of making that choice: Do I go in one more room, or do I go back to town? Which is always a fun thing, but not always something that is core to the experience of a game.
     
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  4. l8rose

    l8rose Neeeeerd Veteran

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    In addition to the above, you could have a repeat use "healing" spot in about the middle of the dungeon or a random vendor that got lost and just said heck with it and sells their wares (which also allows for players to sell anything unneeded they may have picked up).
     
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  5. Ace of Spades

    Ace of Spades Veteran Veteran

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    Most modern games would offer a checkpoint or respawn system of some sort. Perhaps you kick the party back to the dungeon entrance upon death instead of giving them a Game Over screen. You could even have some sort of warp-pad styled check point. Once the party reaches a half-way point in the dungeon, you could open a warp tile that brings you back to dungeon entrance. That way the player isn't stuck replaying the first half the dungeon again if they have to go back to town to stock up on potions.
     
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  6. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I put a wandering skeleton that has decided to set up shop there of all places. That way the player can still buy potions.
     
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  7. Switz

    Switz Veteran Veteran

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    O'Oaka at your service lol

    Great suggestions/ideas. My partner favors the hard core / merciless style of hard difficulty, difficult choices, etc - whereas I prefer the Final Fantasy ease and just enjoy the story so we are often at odds on some issues like this. Naturally we are going to have a difficulty option to ensure each of us caters to the type of players we are, so it's good to bring more options that may be used in both our difficulty versions of the game. I hate the idea of one version changing/punishing larger aspects of the game other than overall difficulty.
     
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  8. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    My game uses all of these things
    • Everybody is revived, cleansed of negative states, and full-healed after combat.
    • MP behaves differently for each class, so those using Energy (low maximum, high consumption/high recovery rate) or Faith (like MP, but with more limited recovery options) get a full or partial restore, respectively.
    • Provide periodic save points that completely restore HP/MP, especially right at the start for dungeons the player is trying to escape from rather than venture into: "Our airship crashed and now we need to get out of this spooky forest."
    • Have an "Outside" spell that will return the player to the dungeon entrance, but make sure you control it in such a way that they can't just bail on the above-mentioned spooky forest. My version of this also lets them teleport to the last-touched save point.
     
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  9. NinjaKittyProductions

    NinjaKittyProductions Professional Murder Hobos Veteran

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    We had one of our characters have a "Leave" spell that cost 10% of their maxMP. Leave would put you just outside the dungeon you went into. So if you really wanted to leave, you made dang sure that you kept that one party member alive and with enough magic to cast "Leave".
     
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  10. JosephSeraph

    JosephSeraph White Mage Restaff

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    IMO this is fun because it does add a certain element of tension to the game, especially depending on how hard it is and how much you can do to actually protect said unit. A nice soft way to counteract frustration in this sense is to have treasure chests check if said character is dead and you don't have a revive item, giving you one so you can butt out. (chests, battle spoils, etc)
     
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  11. Basileus

    Basileus Veteran Veteran

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    This would highly depend on how hard you want the game to be.
    • Save points in dungeons (unless you allow saves anywhere) allow the player to create checkpoints so if they mess up too badly they can reload the save, or return to that point if they die so as not to lose too much progress. Save points can also heal HP/MP. This is typically found in easier games since it makes dungeons less risky, and healing save points in particular make it trivial for the player to grind if they need a few more levels. If the dungeons are supposed to be risky/tense then this would go counter to that intent.
    • Giving the player a way to buy items in the dungeon can be convenient while still giving the healing a cost. It depends on the economy of your game, but making a choice between immediate and long-term goals can be engaging.
    • Healing after battle is also typically used by easier games since it pretty much negates the risk of going deep into a dungeon. This could be used in a tougher game if the individual battles are all seriously challenging, shifting the danger from long-term resource drain to short-term threat. You could also opt for a percentage heal instead of a full heal to make the player have to choose whether to engage in a fight to potentially heal more health than they lose, or avoid a fight to maybe find an easier one later.
    • Escape spells/items are a classic that will prevent the player from getting stuck and take them back to town where they can heal, buy consumables, and upgrade their weapons and armor. This is usually found in tougher games, and some players don't like having to traverse a dungeon they have already been through again. But this does have the benefit that the player will retain their items, money, and EXP so the player should be stronger when they try again instead of actually losing all progress. This highly depends on your game's idea of progress; games without backtracking typically measure progress by how far the player goes and going back at all is seen as losing progress, while other games measure it by the player's development (stats/levels/equipment/etc.) so going back to the start is fine since the player keeps what they earned and don't get weaker by going back.
    There are more options but an optimal choice is going to change from game to game based on the intended experience the dev wants to create. If you just want the player to experience the story then making easier to get to the next story segment are fine. If you want to give the player a challenging experience or a tense atmosphere then you would want an option that doesn't take away from that.
     
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  12. CraneSoft

    CraneSoft Filthy Degenerate Veteran

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    This is really only a problem if you use random encounters, but even then, all it really takes is a simple Escape Rope-esque spell/item that takes you back to town/nearest supply point, that's the one universal solution that you can't go wrong with regardless of how hard you want your game to be. And try not to limit the player's ability to use that when they need to (making them cost MP/consumable for instance), exceptions being they are legitimately trapped from a story standpoint and such easy way out wouldn't make sense.

    Personally, I use traditional save points that allows you to save, heal, or teleport out of the dungeon instead of Escape spells/items, but they achieve the same purpose of preventing you from getting trapped.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
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  13. NinjaKittyProductions

    NinjaKittyProductions Professional Murder Hobos Veteran

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    You could also use a Game Over plugin/script and treat it somewhat as pokemon, if your team gets killed/knocked out, they awaken at the nearest church they visited, or any other spawn point really. That way, if they do perish in the dungeon, they do not necessarily lose any experience. They would just lose the items used up to the point in which they died. You could even have a message somewhere along the lines of:
    "You and your party realize you are in over your heads and decided to head back to the Inn you visited earlier." Then have the player be at that Inn.

    It lets the player know that they need to level, gear up, or item up before attempting that dungeon again. It also allows you as a developer to engage your player by making dungeons with certain mechanics that the player needs to recognize, thereby adding the element of difficulty.
     
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  14. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I'm a bit more on the "hardcore" side of things. In my personal opinion, if a player isn't smart enough to think, "I've used half my resources to get this far, I should probably go back and restock just in case I'm not halfway through the dungeon", they kind of deserve to get roflstomped for ignoring basic resource management skills. After all, these are skills everyone should have in real life. Things we learn in our day to day jobs.

    But, that's not to say I'm not a little forgiving.

    The first few dungeons of my game has an NPC tell them, "This is the middle of the dungeon. You should probably go back if you've used half of your resources by now.". I want the player to expect to be monitoring their resources, so I remind them for the first couple dungeons and then... well... you're on your own.

    I also have a few items that reduce encounter rates (one you can buy in any shop that simply reduces encounters by half, while another can be obtained with the first collectible turned in, and it turns off encounters entirely). These can allow my players to get out of dungeons if they are having a rough time. Though, they have to have the item first and remember to equip it.

    I further condition my player to be stockpiling their resources and working towards obtaining more. The primary gameplay loop is in the player becoming self-sustained and being able to tackle challenges due to their mastery over resource management. Much of my early game teaches this, enforces it, and expects the player to adhere to it or find clever ways around it. The player starts the game with no money, no items, no weapons. They are given a basic weapon and 10 of the most basic healing item in the game. After that, they have to find the means to get more healing items on their own. They game adds more on top of it as you go along. The first dungeon asks you to manage "Antidotes" in order to complete it. You need only 5 to get in, or your second party member, but nearly every enemy in the dungeon has an attack that can and will poison you. You're going to need more than 5 Antidotes. Or, a lot more Potions to heal the Poison Damage.
    ---
    As a dev, what you could do is a variety of things.
    1. Escape Dungeon items/skills.
    2. Save points that allow for free heals at various stages of the dungeon.
    3. Easily restored MP to do healing with.
    4. Items that reduce encounter rate to 0 in order to allow the player to leave.
    5. Restore a portion of Health/MP after each successful encounter so you don't need to heal up by other means quite so often.
    6. Shorten your Dungeons.
    7. Warn players they've hit the midpoint of the Dungeon.
    8. Give out plenty of consumables via chest throughout the game.
    9. Game Overs that reset the player back to the beginning of the Dungeon rather than their last save point.
    10. Optional ways to complete a dungeon or beat a boss other than combat (like Persuasion or Stealth!).
    11. Giving the player lots of money and making healing items cheap.

    There's a lot more. Most of which rely heavily on what kind of game you're actually making.
     
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  15. FleshToDust

    FleshToDust Pixel Beginnings Veteran

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    My solution: the dark souls solution

    Die, respawn at a checkpoint.
    You get x amount of potions whenever you respawn to use.

    I like that much better than hoarding shop potions.
     
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  16. kairi_key

    kairi_key Veteran Veteran

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    Yeah, every comment has been useful so I'm going for the lolz.

    How about cooking monster for survival?
    Like, there could be an area where you can grow some stuff into a small farm, or a campfire to cook food with. You go fight some monster and then decided to cook something up.
     
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  17. BK-tdm

    BK-tdm Manga Maker Veteran

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    Git gud. :kaopride:

    On a serious note though, you can add one or two treasure chests that contain some spare potions just in case, you could also add one enemy that may drop a healing item, maybe not a potion, just a low tier herb or a suspiciously preserved dungeon steak which may help.

    Also a self healing ability should be useful, be it low cost-low gain (spam it off combat, if you run out of mp... oh well) and maybe a passive MP regen per step so if players are that badly hurt they can try to run in circles to regain some mp to self heal (and pray no random battle occurs).

    Passive (but slow) out of combat hp regen can be a thing too...

    Healing herbs that regrow over time in some corners? Maybe those can be turned into potions if you add other ingredients (monster parts?) or eaten raw for less effect.

    Hidden dungeon merchant can be a thing too, to restock potions and other consumables.

    If everything else fails a "escape rope" item, placed somewhere on the dungeon as a "hey in case its too much for you, go back and try again".

    A save point+healing /autosave/checkpoint at the start of the dungeon could be useful too but then again that would be losing progress and i dont know if you're willing to have that penalty for the unprepared.:kaoswt2:

    Or a respawn at said dungeon entrance, so players keep their levels and loot but lost their potions/resources and in true rpg fshion get an exp penalty, but hey, they can try again and know whats up now, less progress lost, they go and git gud to retry, everyone happy.:kaohi:
     
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  18. Ascendedraven

    Ascendedraven Warper Member

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    In the project I'm working on I've included a special type of "hunting" enemy.

    These enemies are semi-rare, very fast with almost no HP and always run from battle the first chance they get. If you manage to kill one they drop an item that can be used for HP/MP recovery.

    Typically they are so fast that they will get away before your party can act but I've also included special "hunting" weapons. These weapons come with an attack speed bonus that should allow most characters to attack before these enemies can flee. The trade-off however, is these weapons do very little damage. Enough to take out a "hunting" enemy, but nearly useless against normal baddies
     
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  19. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

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    add passive healing?

    the player can still complete the dungeon if they take it slow.
     
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  20. Lornsteyn

    Lornsteyn Sleepy Dragon Veteran

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    Why not make a travling merchant who is stuck there, too?
    So this depends on the dungeon if its logic or not.
    Tales of Vesperia had this problem in one dungeon that you cant get healing stuff, too, it was really annoying.
     
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