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Suggestion: Multi-threaded adventures

 
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lumpkin
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Joined: 20 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:44 pm    Post subject: Suggestion: Multi-threaded adventures Reply with quote

Problem
It seems the adventures, while interesting, all follow a common design which limits their appeal.

Start an adventure, skill check, skill check, fight, etc. If you lose, you go right back and click again. No changes. If you win, same thing. I'm seeing how I will get tired of this after a while.
You don't even see the text description any more when you've killed the mad scientist 5 times. It becomes the same as the meaningless 'jobs' that the mobwars variants have.

Solution
I think you could greatly increase the replayability by introducing branches into the adventures. Offer multiple approaches to a problem (skill checks) that offer at least slightly different paths and rewards. The rewards are important here, don't get lazy and have them all end the same Wink
Then at least the next time you approach an adventure you have some possibility of a new discovery.
It shouldn't be that hard to build into your design, you already have the hard stuff done, right?

Rippers is off to a great start distinguishing itself from the pack, but underneath the skin the bones are starting to look similar...
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Epharian
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Joined: 18 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lumpkin,

I think this is a great idea!

It wouldn't even be that difficult to take the standing adventures and re-write them slightly to handle this....

I'll bash out a sample from one of the one's I'm on later tonight...just to see what it COULD look like....
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lumpkin
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me know if you want help beta testing it.
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Verdilak
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Joined: 31 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You mean like:

If you use Skill A, you get to talk to Guy Y before he talks to Guy Z
If you use Skill B, You get to talk to Guy Y after he talks to Guy Z
If you use Skill C, You get to talk to Guy Z before... and so on?
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andyguest2
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Joined: 01 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would be one way of doing it but ultimately not much better.

Something like this might be possible, it depends how flexible the application is.

Start - Scary mystery happens in museum, what do you want to do ?

A. Stake out the museum tonight to see what happens.
B. Research the events
C. Speak to the police/reporter/museum staff

B could lead to an Intellect test which if passed would reveal some information about the monster, giving a bonus to the fight with it.
C could lead to a Social Standing test which if passed would give statements from people that lead to a bonus to the fight.

A leads to an encounter with the monster and another choice

D. Observe the monster, keeping close but avoiding combat.
E. Fight !

D could give a Courage roll to keep cool while observing the monster, again a success would give a bonus to the fight.

E is the fight, as normal but with any successful bonuses added.

That's only a very simple version of branching but it could give a couple of improvements. It would allow players to play a character of a certain type and get some benefit from it. Intelligent characters don't get spannered for not having prioritised speed for one. Secondly it gives some variety, people could take different routes through the adventure for fun. We'd probably need a limit on the number of options you can take before the fight so you can't collect all the bonuses.



Another branching option would be to be to go with something more dynamic.

[Random person] has asked for your help. [Random event] has happened to [Random victim] at [Random location]

Possibilities:-
[Random monster] has attacked victim
[Random victim] is actually monster
[Random person] is actually monster


Another branching option is to go with multibranched, multiple resolution adventures. These are almost certainly harder to program, more time has to be spent on each adventure, it's much harder to come up with generic code which can run all the options. These would be things like:-

Scary things happen at remote mansion. You go up to investigate.
Strange noises at night, the lady of the house is terrified, what do you do ?
A. Head outside to investigate ?
B. Stay with the lady to protect her ?

A - It's dark outside, the strange noises seem to becoming from the west. You can see strange lights to the north. What do you do ?
C. Head west
D. Head north
E. Listen to the sounds carefully
F. Return inside

It gets tricky because some of the options loop round and return you to where you were before with the same options and other change the 'state' of the adventure so that returning to a location leads to different options. Coding it is tricky because you need to ensure there are no dead ends where you can't backtrack or go forward (easy on pen and paper, can be really tricky when you are trying to code a system which is generic enough to handle multiple adventures). Each adventure needs multiple endings. Each adventure needs hand crafting and takes much longer for the developer/writer to put together.

That said all three above are possible. The first two could be combined together with a little effort to give a much more dynamic, exciting game. The third option is probably closer to what people thing of from branching rpg adventures.
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VonDan
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In working out my Serpent Empire Adventure I was prepared to have each clue or encounter lead in 2 or 3 directions. So Each game session I had 2 or 3 encounter areas ready for the Player Party to choose one. I might save the other for later or say an NPC team went there to follow up that clue (and then save the encounter to use under another name in another city)

Case in point (Andy must be looking at my notes because Serpent Empire starts at a party at a Museum) After the Museum robbery is foiled the players were given the chance to follow up on one of the three lead robbers (I made an evil named NPC that blended with the back ground of each player) They could have gone to the Airport ware Die Flagger Wyrm is camping with Baron Von Blood's Flying Circus while the Airshow is in town. They could have gone to the construction sight ware mercenary dig foreman Jack Hammer was last working. They could have gone to another museum to look into the research of Shie Jai the jade dragon the naughty Chinese expert on serpent theme art and snake cults

Working on the fly is easy if you have a bunch of NPC and creatures set up as reusable templates not to specific to one area unless they are a recurring character to the story. I made up only 3 named Villains and then 5 types of Henchman at the same level as the party (Strong Hand to hand, Fast hand to hand, Weapon Hand to Hand, Gunman, Tech)

Strong Hand to hand could have been a Mob Thug, A street Tough or a Boxer they meet,

Weapon Hand to hand could have been a Ninja or a Iron worker with a giant wrench

Gunman could have been a bank robber or a police man

ETC

Even with games that did not make use of trapping I always have

Then I just had lots of maps on hand from a lot of $1 items from the game stores used section.

Although the campaign story was set to go from one cotenant to another in a certain order they could have broke that order and Id just have to shuffle some things
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TatteredKing
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Joined: 15 Feb 2008
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Location: Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a thought on how to make things a bit more exciting...Have a series of linked adventures...where one leads into another, which leads into another...a mini Plot Point campaign. I don't know the mechanics of the programming, but would it be possible to open up second adventures when you have a certain item in your inventory, and have that item be a reward from a previous adventure?

So in this way...instead of...one shots...you have a series of linked things.

A) Investigate the thing in the museum, and find an ancient Egyptian artefact
B) Take the artefact to your fellow Ripper to research it, and find out he is in league with the Cabal, and he steals it from you and sets his cultist buddies on you while he gets away.
C) Track the ex-Ripper to some mystic site where they are performing some diabolical ritual, and stop it.

I think the game has a lot of interesting things. I enjoy the Rippertech, even though I think it could use some more information on when you are getting close to the correct mix. It's scientific research, and you get feedback from research even if it is negative. "OK, the mummy's heart didn't work, but I got a different reaction than I did with the parasitic heart...what would happen if I used the Unbeating heart?" Instead of the random..try one of these 6 billion combinations to see if you get lucky.

I'm interested to see what the Weird Science brings.

And with choices in the adventures, and perhaps linked adventures, this game could really shine.
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lumpkin
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Joined: 20 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, thats the ideas guys, great stuff. I was thinking more along andyguest's notion. Introduce more pathways to the adventure, and not have them all end the same.
You could start out slow by having the skills translate to bonuses in the boss fight, but the real goal is to get away from formula altogether.
If you don't want the game to die on the vine, make the adventures have different endings, and not all be a couple of skill checks with a boss fight at the end.
The adventuring is the biggest difference factor for this game, the other aspects are all similar to other games. Allies, equipment, property, that is common stuff.
Therefore the adventuring has to be polished until it shines so brightly that this game can go up against mobwars.
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Epharian
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lumpkin,

There are a few differences in this game from something like Mob Wars/Mafia Wars...

The rippertech is one of them....that's a golden...

The adventures actually remind me of the blood games of FB, but are less frustrating in many ways.

I'd LOVE multibranch stuff...but I'm not necessarily keen on moving from the stateless stuff that we are doing now...
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SlasherEpoch
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some might argue that's a problem of player perspective rather than GM planning.

After all, you could set up a scene with the intention that the PCs eavesdrop and learn of the villain's Super Secret Weakness Known Only To His Trusted Right-Hand Man...and the PCs might just beat the tar out of him.

Or the GM might have set up a riddle for the players to answer to get past a door...and then the players remember the high explosives they have.

Basically, players often forget they can do more than skill roll, skill roll, fight.

Does this approach the issue from a different angle?
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Epharian
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SlasherEpoch wrote:
Some might argue that's a problem of player perspective rather than GM planning.

After all, you could set up a scene with the intention that the PCs eavesdrop and learn of the villain's Super Secret Weakness Known Only To His Trusted Right-Hand Man...and the PCs might just beat the tar out of him.

Or the GM might have set up a riddle for the players to answer to get past a door...and then the players remember the high explosives they have.

Basically, players often forget they can do more than skill roll, skill roll, fight.

Does this approach the issue from a different angle?


Absolutely. As a GM you cannot forget that players are VERY prone to this sort of thing...

I have had players in that OTHER RPG use dead/destroyed golems as cover (after all, stack up a bunch of stone golems, and you have some effective cover), purposely spring traps, and jump off of cliffs all in the name of executing a plan that I didn't even begin to foresee.

In military circles there's an adage that 'no plan survives contact with the enemy'. This holds true with running a game. NO plan survives contact with the players.

In something like Rippers as an FB game, multibranching can be useful to allow for a greater degree of exploration, but I don't think it will ever allow for the type of free-form experience we all love from table-top gaming. Nor should it.

The goal should be variety both within and between levels so that no one becomes bored with their options and the game remains fresh...
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SlasherEpoch
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will also say I didn't realize that this was the Facebook Games board...whoops!
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