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Chapter11

Combat Question

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I was just wondering if the player will be able to defend themselves or be able to fight, or if it will just be the robots fighting each other.

I know Lee talked about the game not being a twitch shooter, but I was wondering what would happen if the player's robots are all defeated what would happen? Would the player just have to run around the map until they're killed, would the game automatically be over, or could the player grab a twig and charge the enemy robots as they're quickly obliterated? I know you need a certain amount of energy to create the robots so I was wondering what would happen if you're out of energy and your own robots are all dead. I don't know if that makes any sense, probably not.

Maybe its already been talked about and I've missed it, or maybe it hasn't been figured out exactly what would happen yet. Just wondering.

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We talked about melee options for the player and it seems like anything that can do damage will probably be exploited vs. the (very) dumb bots.

We settled on a zero damage, long cooldown stun that the player can shoot out of their hands. It'll stun a bot for a short time and also reset it brain, causing it to lose all targets, etc. This should give you something interesting to do and allow you to interact with the bots, but it really emphasizes the focus of the game being all about the automatons!

We'll see how it works out. Maybe it will be terrible. :D!

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If necessary, there is also always the option of having the same attack do a stuuupidly low amount of damage, so that you could technically still shut down a bot with it if you somehow got backed into a corner, but it is so far below the optimal strategy, that you're obviously going to choose the automatons before melee whenever possible.

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I hid the players melee weapon in my base. He'll have to come unlock it from my evil lair if he wants the *upgrade*

seriously it seems like building on the idea its inevitable just not at the beginning probably an upgrade? because we all know this will be a full game

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We talked about melee options for the player and it seems like anything that can do damage will probably be exploited vs. the (very) dumb bots.

We settled on a zero damage, long cooldown stun that the player can shoot out of their hands. It'll stun a bot for a short time and also reset it brain, causing it to lose all targets, etc. This should give you something interesting to do and allow you to interact with the bots, but it really emphasizes the focus of the game being all about the automatons!

We'll see how it works out. Maybe it will be terrible. :D!

That actually sounds like a great idea, in theory. And here I was worried about it. Silly old me.

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If necessary, there is also always the option of having the same attack do a stuuupidly low amount of damage, so that you could technically still shut down a bot with it if you somehow got backed into a corner, but it is so far below the optimal strategy, that you're obviously going to choose the automatons before melee whenever possible.

ok here's some game design philosophy for you! Ready? :D

I feel that if you give the player a weak yet still effective option there are times where it will be the Best Strategy for a given situation. This is a bummer, because humans are always seeking the path of least resistance. So in this case, if the weapon does 1 damage, there are times where you'll just shoot that bot 100 times because it's the best solution. That's kind of sad. :(

I call this the Pea Shooter problem. Instead I always try to think about removing this option altogether. There's a huge difference between 0 damage and 1 damage. The player CANNOT accomplish his goal with a 0 damage weapon, so that avenue is cut off and they're going to have to try something else! :D!

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If necessary, there is also always the option of having the same attack do a stuuupidly low amount of damage, so that you could technically still shut down a bot with it if you somehow got backed into a corner, but it is so far below the optimal strategy, that you're obviously going to choose the automatons before melee whenever possible.

ok here's some game design philosophy for you! Ready? :D

I feel that if you give the player a weak yet still effective option there are times where it will be the Best Strategy for a given situation. This is a bummer, because humans are always seeking the path of least resistance. So in this case, if the weapon does 1 damage, there are times where you'll just shoot that bot 100 times because it's the best solution. That's kind of sad. :(

I call this the Pea Shooter problem. Instead I always try to think about removing this option altogether. There's a huge difference between 0 damage and 1 damage. The player CANNOT accomplish his goal with a 0 damage weapon, so that avenue is cut off and they're going to have to try something else! :D!

This. Have you thought about the idea of the player being able to fire some kind of player signals that certain heads could respond to? You could give the player maybe 4 different types of signals (perhaps baving to be found as powerups first) and you could program different bots to respond to these signals in different ways. You could have one signal be something like a target painter, one like a flare gun, etc.

In the case of the target painter, this would give the player something to do in combat, while still being absolutely worthless if you don't interact with the main meat of the mechanics of the game: the automatons.

Of course, this may be a little too much 'hands on' interaction with the bots. Perhaps using this ability costs energy?

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Yeah, Brad's all about crippling the player. ;-p

lol. :D!

I try to look at it like we're removing unfun options for the player, in favor of nudging them towards more fun and creative options! :D!

Also - there's going to be so much variety in automaton construction that I think the last thing you're going to want to do is attack a robot with a crowbar. :D!

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If necessary, there is also always the option of having the same attack do a stuuupidly low amount of damage, so that you could technically still shut down a bot with it if you somehow got backed into a corner, but it is so far below the optimal strategy, that you're obviously going to choose the automatons before melee whenever possible.

ok here's some game design philosophy for you! Ready? :D

I feel that if you give the player a weak yet still effective option there are times where it will be the Best Strategy for a given situation. This is a bummer, because humans are always seeking the path of least resistance. So in this case, if the weapon does 1 damage, there are times where you'll just shoot that bot 100 times because it's the best solution. That's kind of sad. :(

I call this the Pea Shooter problem. Instead I always try to think about removing this option altogether. There's a huge difference between 0 damage and 1 damage. The player CANNOT accomplish his goal with a 0 damage weapon, so that avenue is cut off and they're going to have to try something else! :D!

This. Have you thought about the idea of the player being able to fire some kind of player signals that certain heads could respond to? You could give the player maybe 4 different types of signals (perhaps baving to be found as powerups first) and you could program different bots to respond to these signals in different ways. You could have one signal be something like a target painter, one like a flare gun, etc.

In the case of the target painter, this would give the player something to do in combat, while still being absolutely worthless if you don't interact with the main meat of the mechanics of the game: the automatons.

Of course, this may be a little too much 'hands on' interaction with the bots. Perhaps using this ability costs energy?

This is an interesting idea! I think it's out-of-scope for the 2 week prototype, but for sure giving more options to the player to mess with the bots is going to be a plus! :D

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Yeah, that makes sense. As long as the player always has SOME kind of out in any situation. The only thing I guess I was trying to avoid with the 1dmg suggestion is something like a player getting trapped in somewhere with an automaton where the only option is to power it down but all they have is a 0dmg stun gun, which doesn't get them anywhere except dead or a save/reload. But I guess that's thinking too much in FPS terms; not to mention it's also sort of an insulting thought, because I don't think I've ever played a DF game where the level/encounter design was that bad.

I do like Zonr_0's idea, though...

Every automaton has a range of stimuli that they respond to, right? Movement. Sounds. Energy. Bumping.

Would it be a bad idea to be able to fire a decoy stimulus for each one of those? Rather than having decoys/targets that work equally on all automatons, it might be fun if you had to determine an automaton's programming and then paint a target type that only that kind of brain would respond to (e.g., a noisy target, a vibrating target, an energized target, etc).

Also, Re: player abilities in combat.... could you maybe limit player abilities by tying their use back to the automatons somehow? Maybe being within a certain range of an automaton that you built yourself somehow augments your own abilities? Maybe using those abilities leeches energy from the automaton granting it? That still makes you very dependent on the automatons and doesn't necessarily undermine their usefulness, depending on what the ability is. But maybe that's complicating things too much.

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