Why videogame players never value their lives. page 2

44 posts

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Originally posted by GameBuilder15:
Originally posted by RTL_Shadow:


- When you die, you lose 25% money and you are stuck in an in-game jail for five minutes, where players can throw tomatoes at you. In order to avoid afking, you will be faced with a simple math problem every minute (5+3=?). (this works best in an mmo)

That sounds simply terrible.

Which is exactly why you don’t want to die. Kapeesh?
 
Flag Post
Originally posted by RTL_Shadow:
Originally posted by GameBuilder15:
Originally posted by RTL_Shadow:


- When you die, you lose 25% money and you are stuck in an in-game jail for five minutes, where players can throw tomatoes at you. In order to avoid afking, you will be faced with a simple math problem every minute (5+3=?). (this works best in an mmo)

That sounds simply terrible.

Which is exactly why you don’t want to die. Kapeesh?

Yeah. But I think there are far better punishment ideas.

 
Flag Post
Originally posted by GameBuilder15:
Originally posted by RTL_Shadow:
Originally posted by GameBuilder15:
Originally posted by RTL_Shadow:


- When you die, you lose 25% money and you are stuck in an in-game jail for five minutes, where players can throw tomatoes at you. In order to avoid afking, you will be faced with a simple math problem every minute (5+3=?). (this works best in an mmo)

That sounds simply terrible.

Which is exactly why you don’t want to die. Kapeesh?

Yeah. But I think there are far better punishment ideas.

Originally posted by GameBuilder15:
Originally posted by RTL_Shadow:
Originally posted by GameBuilder15:
Originally posted by RTL_Shadow:


- When you die, you lose 25% money and you are stuck in an in-game jail for five minutes, where players can throw tomatoes at you. In order to avoid afking, you will be faced with a simple math problem every minute (5+3=?). (this works best in an mmo)

That sounds simply terrible.

Which is exactly why you don’t want to die. Kapeesh?

Yeah. But I think there are far better punishment ideas.

Originally posted by GameBuilder15:
Originally posted by RTL_Shadow:
Originally posted by GameBuilder15:
Originally posted by RTL_Shadow:


- When you die, you lose 25% money and you are stuck in an in-game jail for five minutes, where players can throw tomatoes at you. In order to avoid afking, you will be faced with a simple math problem every minute (5+3=?). (this works best in an mmo)

That sounds simply terrible.

Which is exactly why you don’t want to die. Kapeesh?

Yeah. But I think there are far better punishment ideas.


Alright, contribute some of them, then.
 
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@Ace_Blue: Hmm, good point. Plus, I’m betting it only works on a small percentage of people (the OCD perfectionists like me).

@RTL_Shadow: Gambuilder’s right, that’s just…awful. Sure, it makes you not want to die, but when you do die, having to SIT IN JAIL for 5 minutes is also going to make the player not want to play the game. And the math problem to prevent afking? NO NO NO> In world of warcraft (I keep bringing that game up, I know) you take a 10 min penalty (resurrection sickness) if you don’t run back to your corpse when you die. That’s 10 minutes of afk time, because rez sickness renders you utterly ineffective at nearly everything. It’s one of the most hated “features” of the game, especially since sometimes, you can’t run back to your corpse. Just like in a flash game, the player is going to die eventaully. Such a penalty would displease them greatly.

And in general…

Since this is a casual game market, there really isn’t much you can do aside offering a casual mode and hardcore mode.

The casual mode really shouldn’t do more than take away a minute or so’s worth of progress, if even that. In the last game I made (still trying to sell the damned thing, ffs) I thought the death penalty was reasonable—you get kicked out of the level (they’re not overly long) and have to do it over. Any money you gained is yours to spend on upgrades, and there’s no absolute game over. Yet, when the FGL guy pre-reviewed it, he complained about having to start over from the beginning of the level. At first I rolled my eyes, but when I think about it, that’s the audience we’re creating stuff for.

As for hardcore mode, punish away. The player isn’t going to click hardcore mode unless he or she is looking forward to a more challenging (and failure-punishing) game experience.

As for making the players care about characters and not mindlessly tossing their poor elephant into the spikes for the 100th time in a row, I think the best we can do (without actually pissing off or otherwise deterring players) is what someone mentioned—build a connection between the player and character. Customization is great. Give them a compelling/interesting story that catches the player’s interest. Things like that, I suppose.

 
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Originally posted by RTL_Shadow:

IMHO one of the best ways to make a player value their in-game lives is to mix a punishment and psychology together- ex:
- When you die, you lose 25% money and you are stuck in an in-game jail for five minutes, where players can throw tomatoes at you. In order to avoid afking, you will be faced with a simple math problem every minute (5+3=?). (this works best in an mmo)

Ok, so I won’t be the first to remark that this is a terrible, horrible idea. Public shaming is one aspect of bullying, and it’s a practice most game designers aim to stamp out and eradicate. That you would consider such behavior desirable is appalling. But let’s set aside those considerations for a minute to look at something the other detractors haven’t considered:

What if the player actually cared about their character, and it died in spite of their best efforts? What purpose does rubbing salt in the wound even serve? What fault of the player are you “punishing”, exactly? None. Exploring is not a crime, experimenting with the system is not a crime, taking risks is not a crime. Yet all of those desirable player behaviors are discouraged by your system of “punishment”. If it wasn’t bad enough that it’s cruel, it’s also absurd.

 
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Shaming can be a good way to punish the player, but it has to be done right.

RTL, nice quotes, haha. Sorry, I don’t feel like telling you about good ways to punish the player as I don’t have time, but I can recommend a certain book that will help you learn about this aspect of game design. ;)

 
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^ I don’t know what to think about this post, other than “hay guise I know some stuff but I’m not going to tell you any of it. I”m just going to suggest a book without actually giving you the title. TROLOLOLOL!"

 
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Actually, no. Here’s the explanation: For a while, GB15 would plug a certain game design book in every single one of his posts. It got to the point that people told him to stop doing it because it was getting extremely irritating (on a scale from “Why?” to nails on a blackboard, he was ranking at about DannyDaNinja-and-his-little-wizard-emoticon level.) Anyone interested can just check GB15’s post history for the title.

 
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Aah, “The Art of Game Design?” Pretty sad that it only took me a few min of post skimming to find several references to it. :o

 
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Originally posted by Ace_Blue:

Actually, no. Here’s the explanation: For a while, GB15 would plug a certain game design book in every single one of his posts. It got to the point that people told him to stop doing it because it was getting extremely irritating (on a scale from “Why?” to nails on a blackboard, he was ranking at about DannyDaNinja-and-his-little-wizard-emoticon level.) Anyone interested can just check GB15’s post history for the title.

Whoa I never knew people actually took notice of my wizard…

Thanks Ace, if it weren’t for you I probably would have actually stopped forever

 
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I’ve become very weary of popular thought in game design — Where games like uncharted amount to little more than theme park rides, where seeing the end of the ride is a foregone conclusion. Most indy and flash games, sadly, aren’t much different, where designers tend to be completely uninterested in inconveniencing the player in any way on his way to beating the game.

I have a different idea. I think true drama and immersion is ONLY possible in a game if there are stakes involved. Something has to be on the line.

So Engage the player. Challenge him. Don’t make it easy. That’s not to say that the game should be pointlessly frustrating or unfair, but present a fair challenge where you do not want to die.

The best “big” game that follows this design philosophy is Dark Souls. This is a revolutionary game, and its success has already sent little ripples of change into other games, as we see things like Zombie U and Dragon’s Dogma come about.

I’m working on my own Metroid style game with a lot of this in mind. Minimally, death sends you back to the last save room, which will be used somewhat sparingly. On top of that, I’m also considering stripping away stats a little at a time each time you die (max health, max armor, something) but I’m honestly struggling with that decision.

 
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I would advise against making the character weaker when the player fails: you’d be creating a positive feedback loop of failure. The more you fail the harder the game gets, so you fail some more… you can see where this ends.

I think the paradigm is shifting from the old arcade view of rapidly increasing difficulty to incite the player to put more coins in, to a Goldilocks model in which the game tries to find the difficulty that is just right for the player, so they barely succeed.

Excitement comes from operating at the limit of one’s ability, and it’s a juggling act. I don’t believe there is much to find at either end of the scale.

 
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Here’s something to think about: Does it really matter if the player values the life of the character in whatever game they’re playing? As long as the game is fun to play and keeps them engaged, do they really need to care if their character dies? Does caring about the character not dying add to the gameplay at all? I mean sure, ultimately, they need to be alive in order to reach the end of the game, but dying along the way shouldn’t matter as long as they keep coming back to play because they enjoy the game.

Fun first. :D

 
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Originally posted by RTL_Shadow:

When you die, you lose 25% money and you are stuck in an in-game jail for five minutes, where players can throw tomatoes at you. In order to avoid afking, you will be faced with a simple math problem every minute (5+3=?). (this works best in an mmo)

Remove the bit about maths problems and make the make the amount of time vary based on frequency of deaths and that’d actually be hilarious.

Out of interest, has anyone played the game Spelunky?

 
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Originally posted by Ace_Blue:

I would advise against making the character weaker when the player fails: you’d be creating a positive feedback loop of failure. The more you fail the harder the game gets, so you fail some more… you can see where this ends.

I think the paradigm is shifting from the old arcade view of rapidly increasing difficulty to incite the player to put more coins in, to a Goldilocks model in which the game tries to find the difficulty that is just right for the player, so they barely succeed.

Excitement comes from operating at the limit of one’s ability, and it’s a juggling act. I don’t believe there is much to find at either end of the scale.

Well put, that said, Dark Souls is endlessly exciting and addicting and dramatic and immersive because you can potentially lose a lot of progress and because the game occasionally clobbers you with something unexpected and brutal. Sometimes it does push you beyond your limit. And sometimes it’s even unfair — Not THAT frequently, but the fact that somethign horrible COULD happen to you adds that much more tension and drama to the whole game. It’s brilliant design.

this is the website I recently put up to show some screenshots and stuff of my game. I plan to add a blog in the near future. www.ghostsonggame.com It plays somewhat similarly to metroid.

 
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Originally posted by Ace_Blue:

I would advise against making the character weaker when the player fails: you’d be creating a positive feedback loop of failure. The more you fail the harder the game gets, so you fail some more… you can see where this ends.

I agree, unless if it’s fairly easy to upgrade your stats again, like you can find armor around the levels. But to be honest, I’ve never played Metroid so I don’t really know how it works.

 
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Has anyone considered the case of the Fire Emblem series? In that game, the player controls not a single avatar, but an entire team, most of them with developed personalities that at least somewhat encourage emotional investment…and death is permanent in that game. I mean, you can quit mid-battle and re-load your game, but if you finish and save that character stays dead forever. The team goes on, but that character doesn’t.

I don’t have the mental focus to think hard about it at the moment, but could this be applied to games of other genres? What if you had, say, an action-adventure game with iterative characters that the player can develop in various ways, encouraging attachment, that stay dead when he dies, without ending the game? Instead, the game’s plot and action would go on, but the player would have to choose a new character to continue the story. I have no idea whether it would work, but it’s a thought.

 
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Originally posted by FakeKraid:

Has anyone considered the case of the Fire Emblem series? In that game, the player controls not a single avatar, but an entire team, most of them with developed personalities that at least somewhat encourage emotional investment…and death is permanent in that game. I mean, you can quit mid-battle and re-load your game, but if you finish and save that character stays dead forever. The team goes on, but that character doesn’t.

I don’t have the mental focus to think hard about it at the moment, but could this be applied to games of other genres? What if you had, say, an action-adventure game with iterative characters that the player can develop in various ways, encouraging attachment, that stay dead when he dies, without ending the game? Instead, the game’s plot and action would go on, but the player would have to choose a new character to continue the story. I have no idea whether it would work, but it’s a thought.

That idea works really well for party-based rpg/strategy games like XCOM :o
But I still can’t figure out how to make a player care for a single avatar like in shooters/platformers.

 
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Originally posted by DannyDaNinja:
Originally posted by FakeKraid:

Has anyone considered the case of the Fire Emblem series? In that game, the player controls not a single avatar, but an entire team, most of them with developed personalities that at least somewhat encourage emotional investment…and death is permanent in that game. I mean, you can quit mid-battle and re-load your game, but if you finish and save that character stays dead forever. The team goes on, but that character doesn’t.

I don’t have the mental focus to think hard about it at the moment, but could this be applied to games of other genres? What if you had, say, an action-adventure game with iterative characters that the player can develop in various ways, encouraging attachment, that stay dead when he dies, without ending the game? Instead, the game’s plot and action would go on, but the player would have to choose a new character to continue the story. I have no idea whether it would work, but it’s a thought.

That idea works really well for party-based rpg/strategy games like XCOM :o
But I still can’t figure out how to make a player care for a single avatar like in shooters/platformers.

As long as there’s near-instantaneous respawning, one can pretty much guarantee players will not care about their avatars. Only in a game where staying alive is a more primary purpose of the game will that start to become true. If you think about it, referencing back to your lamenting the lack of tactics, the goal of modern-day fps’s is not to stay alive. Lives are numerous. They’re handed out like candy. Instead, the goal is to kill the baddies or get to location X. Yes, a secondary goal is to do it with as few deaths as possible (i.e. in the fastest time), but the life of the avatar isn’t of primary import.

Compare that with less run-of-the-mill games like Heart of Darkness or Oddworld. Not only is staying alive pretty much the one thing that should be in the forefront of your mind, but when the avatar DOES die it’s not in a tidy little burst of pixels. It’s kinda gruesome. And it works. As I said a couple months back, that instant reincarnation is what does it in.

As much as people might dislike the word, I think punishment might be the best way to go with what you hope to accomplish. It’s not enough for people to just restart from a previous checkpoint. The fault with that thinking is that while the death of the player may have set them back, they’re still seconds later right back in playing the game, which acts as a counterbalance to any punishment the player might have felt. The player doesn’t mind the loss of progress because continuity is maintained. Why does this matter? Because this just further illustrates the principle that they’re not playing the game to stay alive—they’re playing it to (in shooters) shoot things. As long as their gun is blazing, what does it matter that they just died?

Add an increased buffer period to the respawn and I think that’ll help. Pushing too far to the other end of the spectrum (just to illistrate the point) how much do you think players would value the lives of their avatars if, every time the avatar died, the player had to endure a 20-30 second cutscene? It’s quite literally a timeout. The player is being prevented from doing the one thing they want to do: play the game.

Obviously the timing would need to be tested. As with some platform games the measly three-second respawn time is too short, and with our hypothetical test game a respawn time of a minute would be too long, but there exists a happy median where two standard deviations of players on a bell curve would consider the cutscene long enough to REALLY incentivize them to die much less, but not so long that they consider the game to be wasting their time.

I personally believe that right there is the easiest way to add value to avatars.