Things to avoid in your game

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ebanyle, May 13, 2019.

  1. Romanticist

    Romanticist Veteran Veteran

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    If your gameplay is complex, have a tutorial. If not (and your game is a typical rpg or walking sim game) then do not bother with a tutorial. That's my view.
     
  2. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    A lot of the crap people try to shovel into their intrusive tutorials can be shown to the player instead, or the player can feel smart by discovering how it works themselves. To use the whatever charge thing from my last post, each skill states in its tooltip whether it adds charges or consumes them. The number of whatever charges float clearly above the character's head with a stack counter on them. If I see "1 charge" floating and find the skill that says "consumes 2 charges" is grayed out while another skill that "consumes 1 charge" is not,, it should become pretty obvious.

    Granted, the UI didn't lend itself to this system very well--it should've been another resource meter along with MP and TP. It wasn't hard to figure out though.

    I guess my point is, as long as your tooltips and UI are clear, concise, and convey useful information to the player about what does what, you don't have to throw "HEY LISTEN" at them every few seconds. The whole point of weak enemies in the beginning is so the player can figure things out on their own.

    FF6 is a perfect example of this. In the very first boss fight (Whelk) it teaches you about counterattack mechanics--not by stopping the action and pestering you with a bunch of nonsense, but by the other party members simply saying, WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T ATTACK THE SHELL! When it pulls its head into its shell, a first-time player is almost certain to hit it with something they had queued up. At that moment, they learn how the mechanic works, all without pesty, intrusive tutorials.
     
  3. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @Aesica : It's a tough balance. We've had devs who have had those who never played a RPG or an RM game play their game, and since they had no tutorial they had no idea what to do at all. So you need something for those people or they will give up.

    As for your example on older games, one thing you need to know is many players didn't figure out what the game was getting at and just gave up. I've even played some games these days that don't explain anything and it is just smash keys until you figure out what happens, and usually I end up giving up before I get too far and ask for a refund. So you need something to explain to people that might be total newcomers to this engine or type of game what to do, as it might not be obvious.

    Remember, this engine is marketed to a younger audience. What we see as obvious as an adult is not obvious when we are 8. In fact when I was 8 I used to think I had to make a new save game when I made a save for some reason. No idea why. Which is how come I beat Police Quest 1 with like 60 save games. Whoops.
     
  4. jwgz

    jwgz Villager Member

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    1. POOR GRAMMAR/WRITING/SPELLING
    Poor writing and grammar are definitely up there for me. Whilst I can have some patience for people like me whose first language isn't English or whatever language their game uses, RPGs are so reading-intensive that anything less than grammatical perfection (unless it's bad for rogue-ish and dramatic flair, y'hear?) is almost unforgivable to me. A typo is one thing, but constant spelling and grammar errors are an instant quit for me.

    2. OBVIOUS AND INSULTING ILLUSION OF CHOICE

    I really don't like games with obviously false choices. Like:

    Save the world for us, hero!
    -Yes

    -No
    Oh, surely you jest! No, really, save the world for us, hero!
    -Yes
    -No
    [Cue infinite loop]

    Many older JRPGs and most Zelda games are guilty of this, and I absolutely despise it. It's one thing to give players a smartly-veiled illusion of choice and another thing altogether to mock them like that. If the player has no real choice to make, don't offer it. But like they say, there are always exceptions, such as in games like Undertale and Deltarune, where the illusion and lack of choice are sometimes used to strengthen the narrative rather than weaken it.

    Note: In contrast to what others have said, I actually love games with characters you can recruit who are somewhat or entirely inconsequential to the overall story, like in Baldur's Gate or Chrono Cross. I think it adds to the sense of a whole community rallying against evil for their own reasons. Of course, I also enjoy games like Chrono Trigger and FFIV, which have more tight-knit casts. Finding a balance between those two philosophies is key, IMO.
     
  5. empresskiova

    empresskiova Untitled Project1 Veteran

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    I don’t have (m)any peeves that will cause me to shut the game down forever, but I still have some.

    >Lack of any customization. I dont mind some games being fairly simple, like this hammer has more attack than your sword so you should totally buy it, and to an extent even encourage it if you want to streamline weaponry. But at least give me the option to swap out my party members, learn sword skills, or even something simple like a notable speed penalty for the aforementioned hammer. This is pretty rare in today’s games, but is pretty boring in games where it does exist.

    >1,000 Spells that do the same thing, only with a higher MP cost and slightly higher base damage. If you want your warrior to chuck basic ice spells that’s fine, but I don’t want them to learn like 10 different levels of ice magic. 3 is probably enough there. Replacing outdated spells helps a lot though. This is more forgivable if these spells are gained through multiple skill trees or whatever though, because then it was my choice to split my skill points up.

    >Guns. This is less of a mechanical issue and more of a theme issue to me. I just don’t like how they fit in jrpgs. Unless that game is set in the modern or future ages, of course.
     
  6. Calvynne

    Calvynne Veteran Veteran

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    I just don't have the time to play games like I used to. So these are pretty personal.

    Save Limitations
    I would say that everyone should avoid limiting where and when you can save, because if your game makes it hard for me to jump in and out of, I just won't play it.

    Long Cut Scenes and Un-skippable Dialogue
    Avoid making me re-watch cut scenes, long dialogue strings, and other events without a way to fast-forward or skip them. Maybe this is my 2nd or 3rd time through this section. Maybe I really love parts of the game but want to get there quickly. Put in as many skips and jumps as possible.

    Confusing Instant Death with Difficulty or Challenge
    So the whole world seems to have gone crazy with the idea of "Souls" level difficulty. Where there is some "skill" mechanic that must be mastered, or you are punished with death. This feels a lot like work. I play games for fun. Make your game fun, and I will be inclined to play it. Make it like work, and I just won't bother.

    To a lesser extent...
    Playing Inventory Management, The Game
    Inventory management is a throwback to an age when we had whole bytes to manage inventory. It has nearly no functional benefit in modern games (with some noted exceptions). It is a great way to slow the player down, to make them question what they pick up and what is valuable. In some games, it works really well, but most of the time it feels clunky and antiquated. As long as your design is very clear "this item isn't worth keeping, this item is better" and I'm not guessing that "crumpled note" is more valuable than "old ring" , and if I drop one of them before the key item check, I just lost the game. This is a whole transparency of design issue.
     
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  7. Grunwave

    Grunwave Veteran Veteran

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    Good read.

    I agree on a lot of these items. I will mention one I did not see listed:

    (1) Levels given away. I have played some of the remakes of FF1. My biggest gripe is that you just keep leveling up. Even if you go into a dungeon at the appropriate level, by the end you are over powered. This eventually makes all combat negligible.
     
  8. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    I'm not sure if I agree with this. There were some games I played when I hit the level cap I lost interest in the game entirely. No exp and all combat feel pointless. I mean, if the player chooses to be overpowered so that they can faceroll all of the content, isn't it's their choice?
     
  9. Redeye

    Redeye Chronicles Creator Veteran

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    This one is a more personal gripe of mine:

    KO'd party members losing out on EXP

    Please never do this. If I just slogged through a tough boss battle and ended up having to sacrifice one of my allies to win, and that ally loses out on a Level just because they're dead, I get really salty. I still won the battle, why am I being punished for that? This mechanic says to the player that, in order to progress optimally, they must win every battle perfectly and/or waste a crapton of revival items before ending the fight. That. Is. Infuriating.
     
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  10. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @Redeye : Can I smash the like button 1000x on that one? I've always HATED how in the old Wizardry/FF/D and D games that if a party member is KO'd they don't get any EXP at all for the fight, which can result in them missing out on levels and are now behind the rest of the party which results in them getting wiped out even more often due to the level(s) they don't have due to the previous battles that they got 0 EXP just because the boss happened to KO them on the last turn.

    Plus its really easy to fix in RPGMaker, all you have to do is remove the EXP * 0% value in the KO state.

    Now some might counter with what about leaving them KO'd...should they get EXP still? I fixed this by just reviving all KO'd party members at the end of the battle. Unless you are using KO to mean dead, there is no reason the party wouldn't stop to do basic patching up once a battle was over, and you can simulate that by removing KO at battle end.

    BTW, speaking of old games:

    Enemies that drain levels. Especially if you give no way to cure or prevent this.
    -I think it speaks for itself.
     
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  11. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    In fairness, that's okay early on, as it's a psychological hook of sorts to get players feeling initially invested. If I give you treats for performing well, you're going to probably stick around for more treats even if they begin tapering off. But if each treat is few and far between in the beginning, you're less likely to be interested.

    I mentioned tutorials earlier and how much I hate the HEY LISTEN! kind that drag you along by the arm and make you do stuff before you can just play the game. I like to think of levels 1-15 as the tutorial, where at level 1, each character has no more than one special ability. As those early levels roll in, they'll surely gain a few more skills which they can then try out on the easy enemies in the area and gradually get a feel for your game. By 15, when leveling takes up its normal pace, the players have a small handful of useful abilities, and since they've had time to play around with them, there just isn't a need for any game-interrupting "use this thing on this monster before you can continue" nonsense.
     
  12. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Speaking of tutorials I got one here:

    Forcing me to complete exactly action x for your tutorial before you will let me proceed with the game.
    I also call this death by tutorial as sometimes that forced action can be worse than what I wanted to do (this seems especially true in RTS tutorials, haven't seen it as much in RPG tutorials yet but I imagine it can occur). Its even worse if I already figured it out 5 minutes ago and NOW you want me to do it and won't let me proceed until I do.
     
  13. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    I'm not sure what do you mean by drain level. It is like making you leveled down? I have never seen anything like this tbh.

    Basically modern XCOM. "Go here to flank the enemies, then you get flanked, you die. Only one survived".

    Speaking of a tutorial, how about making it a mission tutorial? Basically, the tutorial that considered as a quest. "If you do this, you will be rewarded with some items/exp", and you're free to do it anytime you want. It also gives time to the player to figure things out. Seems like some games has used this approach.
     
  14. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @TheoAllen : Guess you haven't played many of the 80/90's games (though I think even the current Wizardry's still have this in them, at least the last one I played did), but it was common to have enemies in those that could drain a level from the party member every time they hit you. So say you are level 8, after they hit you, you drop to level 7. If they ever drop you below level 1, the character is permanently dead, no way to revive them.

    Some of those games didn't even include a way to ever get those levels back, short of grinding for them again.

    Actually the X-Com ones didn't bother me as much, as the entire battle was scripted there. Now if whether the enemies or I hit still depended on RNG at the same time, then...
     
  15. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    Oh yeah, Wizardry and D&D games were notoriously bad for using Level Drain mechanics, however Wizardry in particular was known for just being a punishing series in general.
     
  16. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Yep. I've tried to play the old Gold Box games and keep quitting as I just don't care to try the fights 1052 times until I pull it off without being level drained. Guess I just had more time for that kind of garbage when I was like 12 or so, but not anymore.
     
  17. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    Yeah, I never played much RPG in my 90's anyway. But more modern games are popping up and I've never seen the level drain mechanic (except if ur character die and u have to work from the ground up on the new character), not even in our RM community. So, I don't bother much about it.
     
  18. empresskiova

    empresskiova Untitled Project1 Veteran

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    The only game I recall ever playing with a Level Draining enemy was like a boss fight in Legend of Dragoon. Though those levels came back at the end of the fight iirc...
     
  19. Grunwave

    Grunwave Veteran Veteran

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    Definitely not talking about cap here, that is a different beast.

    I mean you go into the first dungeon as level 3 and before you get to the boss you are level 7. And then the boss is too easy because you leveled up too fast, because the game gives too much exp / levels dont require enough exp.
     
  20. Aoi Ninami

    Aoi Ninami Veteran Veteran

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    The problem there is poor balancing. The boss should be balanced around the level the player will most likely have at the end of the dungeon (though it's good to consider that some players will attempt a low-level game as a challenge and make sure the boss doesn't become a complete brick wall at the minimum feasible level).

    But there's nothing wrong with going from level 3 to 7 (or any other arbitrary numbers) within a dungeon. The level numbers don't tell me anything about the effect they have, since I don't know how your stats are balanced. And it's usually a good thing if, by the end of a dungeon, you are easily defeating the normal enemies that gave you a problem at the beginning. That's one of the main reasons why progressing and levelling up feels satisfying. And it doesn't make the game too easy, because you've reached the end of the dungeon, you won't be seeing those particular enemies again, time to move on to harder ones (and go through the same process of seeing them become easy).
     

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