game mechanics (6)

Yora

The Group Stealth Issue

Well, this didn't go as planned. I had expected to have an internet connection in my new place within a week after moving in, but then the technician from the provider saw that for the connection type I ordered they would have to replace some ancient hardware on the building's cabling. A week after that they still did not have a date for the upgrade, and couldn't even tell me yet when they would do the scheduling for the upgrade with the landlord. So I did make use of my 14-day annulment right and made a contract with a different ISP that was able to set me up with a temporary mobile network connection within two days. But this was data limited and it took another two weeks to finally have the landline up and running. But now I'm fully back in business, one month later than planned. And long after my summer break had ended. But I do have two half-day workdays every week now, so that's something. I've not been doing any Blender practice for the last month and only a little work on game concept designs, but I do now have some new thoughts about implementing stealth…

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Yora

Project Hornet

It has now been three months since I started out with my decision to learn making videogames. Since it was clear from the start that little, if any, actual work with Godot would be done during peak season at work and while looking for a new apartment, the game currently existing only as a bunch of scribbled notes is still right on schedule. But moving into my new place is now planned for late June, and I'll be taking my summer break in July. After which I'll be going from a 48-hour work week to a 35-hour week. Very excited about finally taking a crack at learning the most fundamental basics of Godot. And then, eventually, getting to the point where I can start attempting a first prototype for an actual game. Though I have to say, I've already been having a blast for the last three months working on just a general concept for what kind of game I want to create, and how it's roughly going to look and play like. I very seriously considered for a long time making a small, first person, open-world RPG like Morrowind with strong influences from Thief and System Shock 2. But…

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Yora

A first draft for RPG mechanics

While I barely have any existing skills with coding or 3D modelling yet, I have do have a lot of experience designing game mechanics for pen and paper roleplaying games. I've been working with and studying new rules system for over 15 years. This is the one area of game design where I feel highly competent, and I can create mechanics with intent, to achieve specific gameplay experiences. With lots of CRPGs that are clearly inspired by pen and paper games, I have a strong impression that the designers tried to simply copy pnp mechanics into a videogame format. At first because that's what they were familiar with from playing such games as a hobby or after work, and then later because that's how most of the existing CRPGs they knew did it. All the Dungeons & Dragons CRPGs explicitly attempt to replicate the D&D game mechanics as faithfully as they can while still being playable. Fallout was originally meant to be a GURPS game until the license was withdrawn during development and they created the SPECIAL system as a replacement. The early Elder Scrolls games used dice roll mechanics. And of course, the entire iso-RPG genre of the last…

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Yora

A different Approach to Health and Injury

Yesterday I was thinking how the hit point mechanic in basically all CRPGs and really the vast majority of all videogames with a combat component feels really archaic, and how we should consider it hopelessly outdated. If there were any other ideas that had been introduced in games in the last 40 years. Hit points as a mechanic to track how much a character can endure in a fight before being felled by a mortal injury were fine when Dungeons & Dragons came out in 1977. It's easy to calculate in your head and keep track of with pencil notes while you play. And it made real sense to use the same approach for videogames, back when games were typed by hand and looked like this. But you'd think with nearly half a century of videogame innovation and the unbelievable increase in processing power, this simplistic and crude mechanic would have become obsolete decades ago. Instead, it's still basically the universal default that nobody even seems to question. That isn't to say that it's a bad mechanic and that all the games that use it should have been using something else instead. But its continuing ubiquity is really quite puzzling…

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Yora

An isometric Stealth-Game Features Wishlist

Not even a week ago, I decided that I want to try my hand at learning to make a simple 2D isometric RPG. But thinking about what I would want to do different from the games from the 90s that I am familiar with immediately led to my original plan getting completely overwhelmed by feature creep. Which this early in the concept phase isn't really a problem, as there isn't any existing work that becomes obsolete or needs to be completely redone because of it. But the list of features that I would ultimately want to have in a finished game has grown considerably over the last five days. This is a list of things that I want the game to do, from the perspective of a gameplay designer. How the game would actually make these things happen is a programming task, which at this point I know only very little about. But I am already trying to define the features in a way that I can conceptualize as "if-then" statements and that would require the smallest number of calculations to produce a resulting value. I don't have the slightest clue yet. But I think the worldbuilding for the setting…

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Yora

A Skill-based character attribute system

I may not have a lot of experience making videogames, but I do know RPG-systems! And it seems rather odd to me that so many CRPGs that have been developed over the decades very clearly attempt to emulate the mechanics used by pen and paper games to determine if an attack hits or a skill checks succeeds. Sure, it works. But those kinds of mechanics are designed around the necessity to introduce randomness by rolling dice and the ability to make all the calculations involved in your head in a second or two. These are limitations inherent to the medium, but in a videogame there really is no need to abide by them. You are needlessly restricting your own design. When the very first CRPGs were being made, and it was still completely unknown what form such games would actually take, I do see some wisdom in those early developers choosing to use a rules system that they already knew does work, and concentrating their work on the technical aspects of having it run in software. And of course, Baldur's Gate is a licensed D&D game, so obviously it had to mirror the game mechanics of D&D. But overall, as…

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