When you have stronger versions of the same status effect

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by jonthefox, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    How do you design these so that there is clarity for the player? What I mean is, say for example there's a serpent enemy who can inflict the paralyze state, which makes the target not able to move or act for 2 turns. Now say later on in the game there's a mindflayer, who is able to inflict a paralyze state that lasts for 4 turns, or perhaps the whole battle unless it is cured with an item or spell.

    In both cases, the player sees the "paralyze" animation over their character's head - but unfortunately this does not indicate how long it lasts for, if it can be cured - things like that.

    For people who use multiple versions of the same status effect in your game, how do you design them so that clarity is not lost on the player?
     
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  2. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    In terms of longer lasting versions of the same ailment, that should not be an issue as the engine displays the number of turns remaining on all status ailments. So it really should only be an issue if you are not showing those, or if your player can't read.

    For different versions of the same (like a Poison that is 5% of your HP, then 10% of your HP later on), I use different icons. Though honestly, not every game even worries about it. For instance, I've been playing Trails in the Sky and they use the same icon for all of the versions of SPD increase, regardless of whether it is the +10% version, the +25% version or even the +50% version. Whether that is a good design is another subject, but I don't see Trails fans complaining about it.
     
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  3. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I use a status screen to display information about all states on a given battler (character or enemy). This status screen includes the number of turns the state has remaining, and - for games where states scale in utility - also contains the "power" of the state (for example, how much damage is done per second for a DoT state, or how much a stat is reduced for a Debuff state).

    Additionally, if the player has the ability to inflict states that don't always have the same length/power, it's a good idea to include this info for each skill somewhere onscreen as the player selects a skill to use.
     
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  4. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

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    So, what is the mechanical difference between paralysis and super-paralysis? If the only difference is duration, I would suggest that the developer not go through the trouble of creating two states.

    If I am going to include a paralysis state and a super-paralysis state, I'm going to make sure that the mechanics convey to the player that regular paralysis is a minor inconvenience compared to super-paralysis. Super-paralysis would come with far more penalties. Super-paralysis should induce dread and panic in the player.

    And, I guess it would have a different icon.
     
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  5. ave36

    ave36 Veteran Veteran

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    While I do have states with similar effects, e.g. Poison and Bleed, they never share name or icon to avoid confusion. For example, the animations for Poison and Bleed, while similar-ish - drops of liquid, green for Poison, red for Bleed - are different in color. The mechanics are also different: Poison in my game is elemental in nature and its strength depends from actor and enemy params, while Bleed is non-elemental and works like vanilla poison, doing percentile damage. They are both damage over time states, but this is where similarities end.
     
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  6. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I use the method of multiple versions of the same state, so...

    Icons change depending on "severity". In practice, this is just the "standard" icon, with a minor change. So, I've got an icon I've designated "Poisoned", and the Level 1 version of it shows a single bronze star on the icon, to indicate it is the weakest. Next level up is a silver star... after that is a gold star... then a double gold star. It's simple, but gets the job done.

    On top of which, the messages for the state change as well:

    "X remains mildly poisoned!"
    "X remains moderately poisoned!"
    "X remains majorly poisoned!"
    "X remains severely poisoned!"

    This also includes the "you were inflicted with it" messages.

    I do also have NPC's who tell you what the states are once those are introduced... just in case. Though, I have thought about having a "Help Menu" to provide a quick reference.

    Beyond that, I sort of let the game tell the player how long things last and what they do.

    However, there are so few actual states that can be inflicted on my party that it's fairly easy to figure out what they do.

    I mean, the base states are (levels 1 through 4):
    Poison
    Burn
    Blind
    Sleep
    Limiter (Silence, essentially)

    Secondary states are (states with no upgrade path, or a single upgrade):
    Stun -> Paralyze
    Confuse -> Charm
    Frozen
    Zombie

    So, really, it's pretty easy to just remember what things are.
     
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  7. M.I.A.

    M.I.A. Goofball Extraordinaire Veteran

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    I create 3 versions of each state, however, they sometimes do/don't behave very differently from one another in most cases.

    Example: Poison.
    V1: Poison "Target loses 5% MaxHP at the end of each turn for a max of 5 turns"
    V2: (Toxic) Poison: "Target loses 5% MaxHP at the end of each turn for a max of 4 turns, also has a 10% chance of infecting an ally with Poison (V1) at the end of each turn."
    V3: (Carrier) Poison: "Target takes no Poison damage, but for a max of 5 turns has a 10% chance of infecting an ally with Poison (V1) at the end of each turn.

    As @Tai_MT stated, I would signify the differences with noticeable Icon differences. V1: Poison Icon, V2: Poison Icon with a + in the upper corner, V3: Poison Icon, but the color of Poison is in grey hue.

    I hope this helps! :)
    -MIA
     
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  8. woootbm

    woootbm Super Sand Legend Veteran

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    Well, the easy answer is that there's a mod out there (from Yanfly, imagine that!) that displays state durations on their icons. Assuming the only difference you need to convey is the duration, like it sounds.

    I- for one- do not understand why the game doesn't do this by default. I mean, it already shows damage numbers and has all kinds of UI. So it's not like it's immersion breaking.
     
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