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Inflation and item usage? ^_^

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Inflation and item usage? ^_^

Post by Roots » Sun Jun 19, 2005 8:14 am

So for those of you who don't know, I've never been a fan of having static things in this game. I strongly dislike games where all "slimes" have 60 hit points and you know exactly how many hits it will take each of your characters to kill it. That's predictable. That's boring. Not to mention if you gain 40 levels and then go back to the region where the slimes are, battles are a joke. Instead they just become annoying nuissances that are slowing you down from reaching your destination.

So one of the things we are doing in Allacrost are dynamically reconstructing enemies based on some simple Gaussian theory. When a battle occurs, first the stats of the enemy are constructed through a "level-up" simulator based on simple probabilities, rates, and some gaussian random variables. The end goal of this math is to create opponents that aren't entirely push-overs or battles that aren't even worth fighting (because the spoils of victory are so low). At the same time, the player should feel more "empowered" to overcome older adversaries later in the game. So if we fight a slime at level 5, then come back at level 25, the slime won't be a complete push-over but you will be noticably more powerful than the slime than you were 20 levels ago.




Ok, that's the background info. Now what I really wanted to address in this thread was applying this methodology outside of battle. I want to apply it to merchants and the prices of their wares as well. You know in games when you are at say, level 10 or whatever and you spend a (then) hefty 300 gil to buy an ether? Later you come back at level 40 and you have so much more gil, an ether is nothing. And a potion is now so dirt cheap, but it's also useless because it restores maybe 0.5% of your character's HP. So we have two problems on our hands:

1) Prices of wares/services become insignificantly small later in the game
2) Effects of earlier items in the game become useless because their benefits are so insignificant


My proposed solution here is to use the same concept that we do in constructing dynamic battle scenarios. For #1 we can "inflate" the prices of wares as the game goes on. An inn might charge 42 gil in the beginning of the game, but come back 20 levels later and it charges 98 gil. And if someone has a complaint that this is "unrealistic", keep in mind that the player is traveling across an entire world. Without a supersonic jet. Naturally, an adventure like that we see in typical RPGs would consist of months or years. Prices naturallly inflate over the coarse of time, and furthermore global catastrophic events would play hell on the economy. Ok, I realize no one cares about my babblings so I'll get back on topic. :heh: Basically, for #1 the goal is to inflate prices so that they are not ridiculously cheap later in the game but still much less expensive.



Now for #2, I think that instead of making our game items where all potions restore around 60HP (because that amount would be nothing later in the game), we make our items based on percentages. A potion would restore around 15% of a character's HP. A high-potion would restore 40% of a character's HP (and cost a lot more than a potion), etc. That way a potion isn't completely useless later in the game, right? Now here's my favorite part. I dislike the notion having an individual item for curing each type of status effect (poison, confused, etc.) because it's so tedious to manage all these different healing items and shuffle through to find what heals what. Instead, let's say we have a "cure" potion that has a 25% chance of healing any status effects. A hi-cure would have a 50% chance, etc. What do you think?




So yeah, I shared my ideas so now it's your turn to share your opinions. (To staff: the cost of wares/services etc follows the same formula of the dynamic foe construction. That is, there's a base metric for lvl 1, a rate metric for growth, and the number of inflations is determined by the mean of the character's levels). Rawr. :hack:
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Post by Shadow » Sun Jun 19, 2005 11:50 am

These ideas sound good and would increase the motivation to visit old places but could these increase of costs and strength of enemies somehow a little bit declared as a kind of story element. I know some games did it the same way but it was always a kind of strange, there was always the question why?
For example the strange of the evil has grown or something like these supply has been disturbed or something else.
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Post by Roots » Sun Jun 19, 2005 12:14 pm

Shadow wrote:These ideas sound good and would increase the motivation to visit old places but could these increase of costs and strength of enemies somehow a little bit declared as a kind of story element. I know some games did it the same way but it was always a kind of strange, there was always the question why?
For example the strange of the evil has grown or something like these supply has been disturbed or something else.



Yeah, Final Fantasy VIII did kind of the same thing (but IMO it wasn't done well). That's a very good question about why it happens though, and I thought about that while we were making the system. The "evil growing" as the game progresses can be one solution (because indeed, that happens in this game). But my reasoning is more like this. If a character or enemy see an opponent who is clearly much stronger than they are, are they going to suicidally try to defeat them anyway? Probably not. That's why you usually encounter opponents around your same xp level (there's a gaussian curve of the strength of encounter probability distribution, with the mean centered as the average of the character's levels). Maybe you'll buy it, maybe you won't. But either way I think we should all say "who cares". It's a game, and if it makes the game better/more enjoyable, what other reason do we need? :approve:
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Re: Inflation and item usage? ^_^

Post by gorzuate » Sun Jun 19, 2005 12:34 pm

Roots wrote:Now for #2, I think that instead of making our game items where all potions restore around 60HP (because that amount would be nothing later in the game), we make our items based on percentages.


Well duh!

Roots wrote:Instead, let's say we have a "cure" potion that has a 25% chance of healing any status effects. A hi-cure would have a 50% chance, etc. What do you think?


Umm, is that any (say, 1 of 4 current status effects), or all current status effects? I don't know about this probability. If I drink a potion, I want to know it's going to work. Having to drink 4 potions in a row just because the first 3 didn't work would make me want to :axe: someone.

Roots wrote:If a character or enemy see an opponent who is clearly much stronger than they are, are they going to suicidally try to defeat them anyway? Probably not.


You mentioned this before, and at the time I agreed with you. But now I am reminded of a quote from the Matrix ( :heh: ): "You do not truly know someone until you fight them." How can an enemy know that you have gotten stronger? If they pounded you the first time you encountered them, why not pound you again (or think they will pound you, since they don't know you're stronger). The only way I can see is that the enemy is very well informed and has a good information network. Which of course, is highly possible.
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Re: Inflation and item usage? ^_^

Post by Roots » Sun Jun 19, 2005 11:58 pm

gorzuate wrote:Umm, is that any (say, 1 of 4 current status effects), or all current status effects? I don't know about this probability. If I drink a potion, I want to know it's going to work. Having to drink 4 potions in a row just because the first 3 didn't work would make me want to :axe: someone.



You're right about that, I didn't think when I threw that idea out there. If the chances of success were so low, I bet the vast majority of players wouldn't even bother using them until they had near 100% success probabilty. We'll have to figure something else out for status items. But I strongly dislike having a single status item for every alignment. :disapprove: If anyone has an idea here please share.
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Post by Burnsaber » Mon Jun 20, 2005 3:03 am

How about if every "status" item would cure not one, but two or three status effects? You`ll have less of remembering. Something like this;

Purifying potion; cures poison,disease,curse..etc

Healing salve; cures blindess,berserk erc...
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Post by Roots » Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:29 am

Burnsaber wrote:How about if every "status" item would cure not one, but two or three status effects? You`ll have less of remembering. Something like this;

Purifying potion; cures poison,disease,curse..etc

Healing salve; cures blindess,berserk erc...


Yeah I thought about that one too (I know it's been done before). It alleviates the problem, but not completely. You still have to know what heals what and have multiple items for curing status effects. So although it's not a bad suggestion, it still makes me feel :|


I just thought of something though, tell me how this sounds. In the beginning, there's just the "cure potion" or whatever, which heals all status effects (and maybe it can heal no more than one effect at a time). Then as the game progresses more advanced versions of the cure potion appear. Ones that can heal more than one status effect simultaneously, and additionally after using the potion your character becomes immune to new status effects for a short duration of time? How'd that idea sound? I like it a lot :D How many times have you been annoyed because you just cured poison/whatever from one of your characters, only to have them get poisoned again almost immediately after? Could this be what we're looking for? :bow:
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Post by Loodwig » Mon Jun 20, 2005 4:10 pm

A few ideas.

As you progress through a game, you may require more than just healing.  Like in the begining, you can heal 20% or 200hp, whichever is higher (that way you have some diminishing returns on old items, but they aren't worthless like in final fantasy games).  Towards the middle - end, you would get cure 100% items, but they'd cost more, of course.  But at this point you may be less concerned about healing quickly, and more concerned about mp recovery, regeneration items, status ailment recovery, such like that.

Status ailment could be done on the same curve.  A weak heal item could only recover, say minor poisions.  Major ailments would require stronger items.  And if ailments don't carry over from batttle to battle (which I really like), make sure the ailment is nasty enough to make someone want to have good stock in heal items to grab it.

Two notes on inflation:  Costs go up on items with demand, and not as much with time.  So the price of a particular healing item would be more strategically noted if you bought a ton of them.  Say you don't use many elixers, but you use a ton of heal 2 potions.  Eventually, the price of heal 2 potions could outpass elixers, if you used, say, 100x or more heal potions than elixers.  But that'd change if you started using more potions too.  And of course, you could make it so that if you didn't use potions over time (you'll have to define how time works... battles fought, plot points aquired), the price would go down for lack of demand.

On Inns, the price of housing, renting, and lodging has increased at an average rate of 5% per year.  At no point in an RPG should an Inn cost an exorbant amount, but a greater than 5% increase per game year could be expected (with badness going on).  Certain regions should have a base cost (like, say 20gb) and then a global modifier depending on plot should affect the cost of the inn.  This same modifier could play into monster levels and the experience they give, that way you can chastize players who don't level, and not punish those that do (within reason of course).

As for enemy levels, I have a thought on that as well.  Players level up and become better at killing.  They don't really become much stronger (not 50x as strong at least).  So what I'm thinking is that if they do become better killers, the enemies will (probably) be mindful of this, and attack in larger numbers, or send their better enemies against them.  So an area can the following property: The higher the party level, the lower the encounter rate (less ankle biters), the harder the enemy party in encounters (more enemies, and stronger enemies).
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Post by Roots » Mon Jun 20, 2005 10:16 pm

I'm tired, so I'm going to hack apart your ideas.

Loodwig wrote:... in the begining, you can heal 20% or 200hp, whichever is higher (that way you have some diminishing returns on old items, but they aren't worthless like in final fantasy games)....


I like this idea a lot. :approve:


Loodwig wrote:Status ailment could be done on the same curve.  A weak heal item could only recover, say minor poisions.  Major ailments would require stronger items.


:uhoh: No way. How are you going to indicate the strength of the poison in-battle, and furthermore how is the user supposed to know how strong of a potion he/she needs to cure it? :disapprove:


Loodwig wrote:And if ailments don't carry over from batttle to battle (which I really like), make sure the ailment is nasty enough to make someone want to have good stock in heal items to grab it.


When I first read this I thought you said you like status ailments persisting after battles. :twitch: Glad we agree here. :) I hate having to end a battle, then open up my menu, then cure my players from what-not.

You're definitely right about making status ailments devastating enough to make the player not ignore it. When you have 8000HP and a poison status only does ~52 damage, no one's going to give a crap about that. Instead it should be like 5% of your HP, so after 20 rounds you're dead. Of course, we'd also have to balance things and make it rare enough so the player spends the majority of their battle time actually fighting, rather than continuously curing their characters.


Loodwig wrote:Two notes on inflation:  Costs go up on items with demand, and not as much with time.  So the price of a particular healing item would be more strategically noted if you bought a ton of them.  Say you don't use many elixers, but you use a ton of heal 2 potions.  Eventually, the price of heal 2 potions could outpass elixers, if you used, say, 100x or more heal potions than elixers.  But that'd change if you started using more potions too.  And of course, you could make it so that if you didn't use potions over time (you'll have to define how time works... battles fought, plot points aquired), the price would go down for lack of demand.


:twitch: :uhoh: Sorry, but :disapprove: Introducing supply and demand models into the game is way too much overkill, and chances are the player isn't going to notice or care. Let's save this idea for our "real-world simulation" game :heh:


Loodwig wrote:On Inns, the price of housing, renting, and lodging has increased at an average rate of 5% per year.  At no point in an RPG should an Inn cost an exorbant amount, but a greater than 5% increase per game year could be expected (with badness going on).  Certain regions should have a base cost (like, say 20gb) and then a global modifier depending on plot should affect the cost of the inn.  This same modifier could play into monster levels and the experience they give, that way you can chastize players who don't level, and not punish those that do (within reason of course).


The concept of "time" in Allacrost as far as all these dynamic models and simulators go is all based around XP. What is a "year" in a game? If we equate 1 hour of play time = 1 month of game world time, that's no good. Everyone plays the game at a different rate, so there would be people that had WAYYY too much money and also those who have WAYYY too little. Just imagine if someone went to go do the dishes or something and left the game on, then watched TV and forgot about it. :uhoh:

Centering our models around XP is the best way to do things I believe, both for adversary strength, item/lodging pricing, and whatever we end up applying this idea of thinking to.


Loodwig wrote:As for enemy levels, I have a thought on that as well.  Players level up and become better at killing.  They don't really become much stronger (not 50x as strong at least).  So what I'm thinking is that if they do become better killers, the enemies will (probably) be mindful of this, and attack in larger numbers, or send their better enemies against them.  So an area can the following property: The higher the party level, the lower the encounter rate (less ankle biters), the harder the enemy party in encounters (more enemies, and stronger enemies).


Doesn't sound too bad, the whole "if you're stronger you get less frequent encounters and tougher battles". The tougher battles we already have factored into the game, but I'm a little :| about having a dynamic encounter rate. Maybe I'll change my mind later after we get some more immediate and fundamental parts of the game put together, but at least for now (for me) I'm putting this one on the back burner.



Rawr.
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Post by Loodwig » Thu Jun 23, 2005 4:11 am

No way. How are you going to indicate the strength of the poison in-battle, and furthermore how is the user supposed to know how strong of a potion he/she needs to cure it?


I meant more serious conditions like petrify versus poison.  I don't like the idea of being able to be "piggy'd" "imp'd" "small'd" and "frog'd"... mostly because they are annoying to counter (and easy, but annoying).  Although fantasy,I try to suspend disbelief as much as possible in a game, or really like when games do that.  I recall in FF6 you had poision, virus, and the like.  But the more I think about this, the more I think this is gold plating, and not really what we should be thinking about at this point.

Supply and demand may be a bit of an extreme, and is certainly gold plating.  You could just set a town at having a given inflation / poverty rate over a norm, and use that as a multiplier for the items it sold. (potion costs 100gp, but in Tristram it costs 150 because of the 150% inflation rate, meanwhile in the pesant kingdom of pesantry, it's only 80gp because it's an 80% town, but who wants to go all the way back there when I need a potion now... and the battles outside are TOUGH!).  It's simple to do variable wise, and it could add a sort of fixed level of realism, rather than have an economics engine.  Certainly this should be the case for INN stays, though a stay at the Inn shouldn't cost much more than a single battle... if you are planning on having some sort of mandatory leveling of characters.
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Post by ian » Mon Jun 27, 2005 1:08 pm

I only read the first post and have two ideas.

The prices should stay the same, but as you battle harder enemies and restore health, it should take a considerabley more amount of potion or whatever.

erm, side question: will there be online play?? i think i already asked a hwile ago...
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Post by Balthazar » Mon Jun 27, 2005 8:43 pm

Nope, no online.  The game is designed to be a single player experience.
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Post by ian » Mon Jun 27, 2005 8:52 pm

Well after a year or few months, you should make anew one, completly online :D
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Post by Roots » Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:06 pm

*sigh* See the bottom 3 posts on htis page: http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/viewtopic. ... c&start=60

Making a MMORPG is just not a good idea IMHO. I don't think MMO and RPG mix together well, at least not my definition of a RPG. Although I will admit that 2nd up to my own single-player RPG game, I've always wanted to make a real-time strategy online game (like Starcraft)... :angel: But that comes after Allacrost.
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Post by ian » Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:11 pm

I see  :cool:
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Post by Roots » Sun Aug 21, 2005 1:55 am

I love it when I forget about a thread I made a few weeks ago, then come back to it and say to myself "Wow! These are some kick ass ideas! I'm a genius! :bow:"


:heh:
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Post by Roots » Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:57 pm

Ahaha, I did it again (had the same ideas, then came back and found that I had already stated them in this thread). Well this bump is for Steu since he asked me about this in the staff forums earlier today and we need to make a decision on how status items work and what not. So let's start making one. :)


I vote the following:

> Every status healing item can heal all status effects, not just a single type.

> There is more than one type of status healing item, and they are differentiated from each other by effectivness (ie, one can heal only one status at a time, while another could heal three at a time, or something to that effect).


I still don't know whether I like the variable chances of healing or not. :| Maybe they could reduce the status instead? Ie if you are blinded, using a weak status healing potion makes the status 33% less effective. use it three times and you are completely cured. -or- use one powerful status healing potion and heal the condition instantly.... :shrug:
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Post by Steu » Sun Jan 29, 2006 5:09 pm

:disapprove: on the percentage chance of healing a status effect.  That would cause too much frustration.  

Roots wrote:Every status healing item can heal all status effects, not just a single type.

There is more than one type of status healing item, and they are differentiated from each other by effectivness (ie, one can heal only one status at a time, while another could heal three at a time, or something to that effect).


:approve:
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Post by Rain » Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:24 am

Steu wrote::disapprove: on the percentage chance of healing a status effect.  That would cause too much frustration.  

Roots wrote:Every status healing item can heal all status effects, not just a single type.

There is more than one type of status healing item, and they are differentiated from each other by effectivness (ie, one can heal only one status at a time, while another could heal three at a time, or something to that effect).


:approve:


One of the things I HATE about Dragon Warrior XIII is that there is a 50 percent chance that the ZING (life) spell will not work, which isn't good.  Especially when you cast it 5 times in a row, and luck isn't on your side when you are battling the evil entity.   :frustrated:  This same fact can be attributed to items as well.  I think the importance of an item is its reliability and its basis for having a tried and true strategic importance, each and every battle (which is impossible if there is a chance of it not working properly)
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Post by Jetryl » Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:35 am

By and large, like dave (whom I disagree with about a lot of elements of non-wesnothian game design), I don't like having many potions/spell scrolls in a game.

Dave wrote:One thing that has long irritated me about almost all RPGs is how much they are based on healing. To go on a mission into your local dungeon, you just have to stock up on 100 healing potions/medpacs/whatever, and heal your character(s) after every fight. Actual skill and strategy really don't matter that much, unless there is a single enemy too powerful to beat, who can damage you faster than you can apply healing.



So what does this have to do with Allacrost?  I'd make potions something that you generally don't buy in a shop.  By extension, I'd make battles something that you actually have to run away from if you're getting wounded.

Potions are rare and potent things - not so rare that you miser them, and never use them, but rare enough that you don't use them casually.  The fallacy of healing potions and spells being an "extra HP buffer" should be avoided at all costs.

Status effects would be limited into basic categories, and these categories would be curable, not the individual effects.  Many things could be done to cloud the mind, but some magic dust sprinkled on the character might clear their mind.  Many things could be done to poison, sicken, or disease the character, but a quaff of a cure potion would attack all of those problems.

:approve: regarding % of total stat effects.
:disapprove: regarding chance-to-take-effect rolls on curing potions/spells.
:approve: regarding spells causing immunity to the effect.

I also suggest that potions/spells take time to do their thing, and if they overwhelm the effect they're cancelling out, they provide temporary immunity.  No "instant heals".

You could implement these as additive factors, which bleed away over time.  If you get poisoned, your poison status goes positive.  As long as it is positive, it causes damage, and the poison stat gets slowly reduced over time, to zero.  If you take a poison cure potion, the poison status might go negative - any poison given to you will have to cancel out that number.


:eyebrow: Maybe that's too revolutionary for this game - I dunno.

(Do understand that the entire design of any RPG that I myself oversee is going to so revolutionary that it'll blow a few people minds.  For example, I won't have hitpoints, or any hitpoint substitute.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it. =)  I'm just sick of RPGs that are, deep down, isometric to being either puzzle games, or killing games.  The bread and butter, the majority of gameplay in RPGs, consists of running around and killing monsters.  If someone ever feels the urge to skip dialogue, then that's not the true heart of your game.

I want it to be clear that I'm not suggesting some redesign of this game, or something—there's no realistic way to fix those problems in Allacrost.  It does doom Allacrost to being more of the same, but the game will actually get finished, and you decided from the start to make an evolutionary improvement over the basic design of a FF game, which I think it will succeed at.)
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