Monday, September 10, 2012

What a Strange Animal

I think being an honest person and a person in a creative field simultaneously is a challenge. From time to time I have to look at my work and say, "Well, that kinda sucks." Which is a fair trait from my honest side, but it hurts as a game designer. So the important thing is to find out why it sucks. That's what I'm going to write about here: things in @Star Wars that need to be changed to make it a better game.

There's too much time wasted on missing during combat. It is not uncommon at all to see every participant miss during a round, sometimes over the course of several rounds. This is a waste of the player's time and I don't like that. There's no tactical element if a round of combat can exist where nothing changes.

The game fails to reward the player for skill. While Roguelikes shouldn't be twitch-shooters by any means, they should still reward a player for having solid tactics. The extent of tactics in @Star Wars is basically backing into a hallway and spamming your attack key.

There aren't very many decisions to make. Most players will simply pick the best Profession + Species combination for "x" weapon and use that type of weapon for the rest of the game. There are no extra dungeon branches or anything to pressure the player for a decision. There are no optional bosses (or real bosses).

These are my big three issues with the game right now. I don't know when they'll be "fixed" or if they'll ever be truly "fixed". I do have some plans, though. At least one of those plans will probably find its way into 0.4a, which is still scheduled to be released September 15th. That plan is detailed below.

My immediate solution to the "missing constantly" issue is to replace it entirely. I'm going to outright remove missing and replace it with the "Critical" system. The system, for now, will be largely the same on a mechanical level: two opponents will make opposing rolls. If the attacker wins by "x" amount, he'll deal substantially more damage (a critical strike [this part of the system is already partially in the game]). If the defender wins by "x" amount, the attacker will fumble and deal substantially less damage.

The basic idea here is to make it so the combatants are always trading hit points. At no stage will an absolute miss occur, so damage will always be flowing both ways. A high dodge value will make you a rather tanky character (as it does today) and a high critical strike value will turn you into a killing machine. I hope to include more stats (such as Dodge and Critical Strike) on equipment, which should springboard off into the third problem mentioned: the player will get to confront more decisions.


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