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Rock Paper Scissors: GotY?
March 24th 2002, 15:59 CET by m0nty

Balance is one of the make-or-break elements of game design. Many great games are really glorified versions of the timeless Rock Paper Scissors (RPS) design, where no one ever has phat l3wt or nerfed characters. RPGs are possibly the best example of the opposite of this dynamic, where there is always a new item or buffing spell to give you a killer advantage over the other classes. Freedom Force, the superhero sim made by Canberra-based Irrational Games (including some of the Looking Glass legends who made System Shock 2), is the latest "tactical RPG" hybrid to try to meld a levelling treadmill with RPS gameplay. It tries to succeed where others, like the makers of most MMORPGS, have failed.

The Freedom Force demo is available at FilePlanet in large and small versions, with mirrors at AusGamers (small and large), 3D Gamers, BonusWeb, and EA.

The multi-player component of FF will allow a certain configurable amount of strength for your group of heroes, allowing you to pick and choose from a selection of your own pre-built characters much in the way that a Magic: The Gathering player chooses his cards to make up his deck. Irrational's Ken Levine has seemingly been interviewed by every gaming site known to man recently, but this is perhaps the best example of the thinking behind FF, from the Voodoo Extreme interview:

The biggest problem with balancing Freedom Force MP is the ability for people to create not only custom characters but also new custom powers. So we have to try to develop a scoring system for these characters and powers that doesn't allow people to create unstoppable or unbeatable characters. Since the number of combinations of possible powers is astronomical this is extremely difficult. The main way we can stop the whole thing just collapsing though is through the rock/paper/scissors nature of the combat. There is always a counter to any defence so you should be able to beat opponents who keep building the same kinds of characters even if they have discovered some cost anomaly.

When people say a contest is "like a game of chess", they are usually referring to RPS design. The simple dynamic between the bishop, rook and knight is a template for many strategy games, particularly RTSs like Age of Empires with its infantry/cavalry/archer combination and the Civilization series with the various iterations of swordsman/spearman/catapult. The fighter/mage/thief dynamic is a similar balancing agent in elf-fest RPGs, with the cleric as an ancillary class. Sacrifice's flying/melee/ranged system for summoned creatures is a recent example of good RPS-fu in the same vein.

The current problem with RPS in computer gaming is that it doesn't work very well in conjunction with another big requirement of modern genres: character progression. Persistent games like MMORPGs do not gel with the rather static game environment required for the RPS dynamic to function correctly. Of course, traditional pen-and-paper RPGs always had a Dungeon Master to add balancing in real time, which is part of why Neverwinter Nights is so eagerly awaited. The mere existence of the word "nerf" is evidence that MMORPGs have a devil of a time trying to make sure rocks don't have immunity against paper, and that scissors aren't the uber-class of choice. One might argue also the FPSs have an inbuilt weakness for this sort of imbalance, with the Quake 1 rocket launcher being one of many examples.

I would term these kind of games as the It's All About genre - e.g. It's All About the Quad Damage. These game emphasise the progression of the player from normal everyday Joe to uber-1337 master of the universe. This might be OK in a single-player game, but it does not add up to an enjoyable multiplayer experience for those without the latest in buffing accessories from Blacksnow Interactive. Some co-operative FPS games try to inject RPS functions into the genre by adding classes, such as Tribes and RtCW MP, with limited success - it's not much fun camping the flag.

In some ways, the RPS dynamic defines game balance, but it is under serious pressure from the gamers who really want to be the all-powerful superman. Which is why the marriage of the superhero genre with RPS game design is such a fascinating prospect in Freedom Force. I leave it to you to debate whether RPS is really all it's cracked up to be, which games are examples of good or bad implementations of it, or whether It's All About phat l3wt.
C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: Rock Paper Scissors: GotY?

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#1 by jafd
2002-03-24 16:11:34
Being able to read minds makes R/P/S much more fun. [T/F?]

"Would a bad person encase themselves in puppies like this?"
#2 by Ashiran
2002-03-24 16:15:57
The Rock Paper Scissors sytem is pretty much the only system that actyally works for games balancing. It always spins out to the same thing no matter what genre. Every tactic has a tactic that can counter it. And while one could argue that it's the player who should think up that tactic rather then just to pick the appropriate counter unit/item/buff. Unfortunately this would mean that the countering player spends more time performing various actions then the other player. And in fast-pace games that's just a nono.

The current incarnation of Warcraft 3 apparently lacks several "counterunits" Starcraft did had. The only balance thing everybody whines about on the forums is the lack of those units. Sure you could micro your way into victory against a certain strong tactic but most people aren't capable of that. Certainly not when your opponent hardly has to do any micro at all. The Skeleton rush in WC3 comes to mind for as a nice example for that one.

Speaking the odd grammer that turns out this way.
#3 by Gunp01nt
2002-03-24 16:28:20
supersimon33@hotmail.com
I thought every game was basically just Pong... now you're telling me it's actually Rock Paper Scissors?

"I'm not sleeping with a junior high-schooler, I have a life sized doll that looks just like one."
#4 by Martin
2002-03-24 16:44:43
http://www.mocol.nu
Is there no stopping m0nty??

Btw, how long before I call a girl up and ask her for a date after I got her number? I think I have a pretty good idea but I've been out of the loop for so long I feel friggin ancient when it comes to stuff like this. 8/ Plus I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

-- Martin
Hunkalicious since 1972!
#5 by Gunp01nt
2002-03-24 16:52:55
supersimon33@hotmail.com
Martin:
don't call 2 hours after you got her number. But don't wait for a week either.

Say.. anywhere between 1-3 days after you got her number.

remember: the longer you wait, the bigger the chance another guy runs off with her, and/or the more she will think you don't wanna date her after all.

"I'm not sleeping with a junior high-schooler, I have a life sized doll that looks just like one."
#6 by Caryn
2002-03-24 17:36:33
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Martin:

It's been a long time since I've been in the dating pool, but here's my womanly advice: I'd say call her the next day or the day after, but don't wait longer than that. If she gave you her phone number, she was interested and expects to hear from you.

"When I'm old, I don't want them to say of me, 'she's so charming.'  I want them to say, 'be careful, I think she's armed.'"  - G. Stoddart
#7 by Greg
2002-03-24 17:38:57
m0nty: I would say that some current RPGs do allow for a RPS design. Baldur's Gate comes to mind. There always is some way of countering what has been done, and the game isn't all about "phat l3wt". Of course, multiplayer falls into the co-operative realm. You probably should have clarified that your comments are really only relevant to multiplayer games, and ones that are not entirely co-operative.

A good example of getting rid of disparity (item-wise at least) is InstaGib in UT. Every player has the same weapon, it never runs out of ammo, you don't need health packets or armor or anything. If you get shot you die. The best player is just as susceptible as the worst. It's highly entertaining, occasionally frustrating (when the other team has a good shot - I play CTF mostly) and it removes much of the annoyances with teammates stealing items mainly because there aren't any.

Then again, it doesn't allow for customization (other than look/sound) which is necessary in a RPG or an RTS.

Greg

-Swallow it all and be glad, for a shilling I've paid and a shilling's worth I'll be having!
#8 by The Warthog
2002-03-24 17:41:23
warthog@planetfortress.com http://www.planetfortress.com

It's been a long time since I've been in the dating pool, but here's my womanly advice: I'd say call her the next day or the day after, but don't wait longer than that. If she gave you her phone number, she was interested and expects to hear from you.


There you go being all logical again...  Sometimes the clashing styles of various posters is just too much for me.
#9 by Greg
2002-03-24 17:44:57
It looks like the topic has been hijacked at post #4!

Greg

-Swallow it all and be glad, for a shilling I've paid and a shilling's worth I'll be having!
#10 by jafd
2002-03-24 17:47:08
how long before I call a girl up and ask her for a date after I got her number?

It rather depends on when you said you'd call her, and on what kind of impression / relationship you want to build.

Generally, however, the next day, after noon, is good. What's more important, however, is that you have something interesting to say, when you do call. :)

"Would a bad person encase themselves in puppies like this?"
#11 by jafd
2002-03-24 17:49:40
However. /me eats a Bullet of Sleep.

"Would a bad person encase themselves in puppies like this?"
#12 by Martin
2002-03-24 18:03:56
http://www.mocol.nu
#5 by Gunp01nt
don't call 2 hours after you got her number. But don't wait for a week either.

Say.. anywhere between 1-3 days after you got her number.

remember: the longer you wait, the bigger the chance another guy runs off with her, and/or the more she will think you don't wanna date her after all.

On the other hand, if I wait a while she might get interested in me because I'm not too interested (read: desperate).

#6 by Caryn
If she gave you her phone number, she was interested and expects to hear from you.

Even if I asked her when she was quite drunk (and helpless)? 9)

#9 by Greg
It looks like the topic has been hijacked at post #4!

Yay! 8P

#10 by jafd
It rather depends on when you said you'd call her, and on what kind of impression / relationship you want to build.

I didn't say when I would call her, just that I'd like to meet her again. Right now I'm looking for love that lasts, I think I've had my fair share of love that doesn't. 8/

Generally, however, the next day, after noon, is good. What's more important, however, is that you have something interesting to say, when you do call. :)

Yeah, that is a problem now, isn't it? Well, I don't want to come on too strong but I want her to know that I'm interested in her. So I need something simple yet just enough romantic. Which can be a bitch in March here in Sweden; a bit cold for a picnic and the movies is way too typical. I'll think of something I guess. 8)

-- Martin
Hunkalicious since 1972!
#13 by m0nty
2002-03-24 18:04:22
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Martin's just pissed that his topic got voted off (this has been confirmed with morn, he didn't delete it).

Greg (#7):
m0nty: I would say that some current RPGs do allow for a RPS design. Baldur's Gate comes to mind. There always is some way of countering what has been done, and the game isn't all about "phat l3wt". Of course, multiplayer falls into the co-operative realm. You probably should have clarified that your comments are really only relevant to multiplayer games, and ones that are not entirely co-operative.

I did acknowledge in #0 that single-player games are far easier to balance than multiplayer ones. If you play as all three sides of the RPS system yourself, you aren't really pitting one against the other.

Even co-ops have RPS weaknesses, because in most of these games it's far less fun to be rock, because paper keeps on pwnz0rring j00 with the rail-gun while you defend the flag from scissors who are flying the planes instead of being mown down by your l4m3r knife. Or something.
#14 by Martin
2002-03-24 18:06:35
http://www.mocol.nu
#8 by The Warthog
There you go being all logical again...  Sometimes the clashing styles of various posters is just too much for me.

Feel free to chime in with your solid advice in the matter... 8)

-- Martin
Hunkalicious since 1972!
#15 by m0nty
2002-03-24 18:08:17
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Gunp01nt (#3):
I thought every game was basically just Pong... now you're telling me it's actually Rock Paper Scissors?

RPS is the next step up from Pong. A RPS version of Pong would include three bats in a cube... scary.
#16 by Martin
2002-03-24 18:08:56
http://www.mocol.nu
#13 by m0nty
Martin's just pissed that his topic got voted off (this has been confirmed with morn, he didn't delete it).

Yeah, petty vengeance is not above me (or would that be below?)...

I know it got voted off as it showed up in my pipeline, where I promply deleted it myself. The topic had been discussed anyhow, in one of your threads no less IIRC. So I win.

-- Martin
Hunkalicious since 1972!
#17 by Martin
2002-03-24 18:15:47
http://www.mocol.nu
I meant to write 'promply'. Just so you all know.

-- Martin
Hunkalicious since 1972!
#18 by Gunp01nt
2002-03-24 18:17:49
supersimon33@hotmail.com
Martin:
On the other hand, if I wait a while she might get interested in me because I'm not too interested (read: desperate).

how old are you and how old is she? If you're both adults I think you should be way over playing hard to get, cause she will appreciate honesty over a silly game.

"I'm not sleeping with a junior high-schooler, I have a life sized doll that looks just like one."
#19 by Gunp01nt
2002-03-24 18:18:59
supersimon33@hotmail.com
I meant to write 'promply'. Just so you all know.

don't tell me... you have a speaking disorder which prevents you from saying the 'T'...? :P

"I'm not sleeping with a junior high-schooler, I have a life sized doll that looks just like one."
#20 by Dev
2002-03-24 18:28:00
admin@techillimit.net
hat wasn' very nice

"If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic." -- Lewis Carroll
#21 by jafd
2002-03-24 18:32:02
The current problem with RPS in computer gaming is that it doesn't work very well in conjunction with another big requirement of modern genres: character progression.

I don't understand what you mean, but I disagree with what you wrote.

"Would a bad person encase themselves in puppies like this?"
#22 by Marsh Davies
2002-03-24 18:43:36
www.verbalchilli.com
I just can't be bothered with games that thrust me in with people who have an artifical advantage over me. I much prefer rock/paper/scissors (which incidentally I've always known as scissors/paper/stone), because it leaves success or failure in the natural abilities of the player, and some worldly knowledge.

Incidentally, I've been sticking in to MOHAA multiplayer, and it's fucking great. My verdict on the single player rapidly became less positive as I progressed through the game, up to the point where I wasn't really all that interested in completing it. The multiplayer has ensured that it remains on my computer indefintely... no tards on the servers I was playing; great weapon balancing; excellent team work; realistic and well-balanced objectives. Just quality stuff. Maybe I'll get bored of it when I've played each map through a few times from both sides, but that's quite a long way off...

Anybody else played it? Opinions?

-- ex Spatula Man --
#23 by Marsh Davies
2002-03-24 18:44:59
www.verbalchilli.com
incidentally incidentally incidentally


My synonym-fu is weak.

-- ex Spatula Man --
#24 by m0nty
2002-03-24 18:45:43
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
jafd (#21):
The current problem with RPS in computer gaming is that it doesn't work very well in conjunction with another big requirement of modern genres: character progression.

I don't understand what you mean, but I disagree with what you wrote.

Dammit jafd, you helped me write the damn topic, you should know by now. Let me explain it further.

Rock Paper Scissors is a byword for balance in static games: for equilibrium, if you will. In other words, the pieces, or cards, or avatars, or whatever it is you control in the game does not change in power as the game goes on. Rooks can not level up and gain the power to move diagonally.

When the pieces in the game change their nature, this breaks the RPS dynamic. Suddenly your fighter is more powerful than the opposing mage. Your Babylonian legion can beat the Egyptian spearmen. This is alright if the game is designed around a technology tree or levelling treadmill, where the point of it all is to fight to keep either ahead of the other guy, or to at least to maintain an equilibrium between the differing classes/units so that you're all stocking the same versions of rocks, paper and scissors.

However, when one class or unit type has some inherent advantage over the other two or more elements, then you permanently break the RPS design. If flying units in Sacrifice were so much more powerful than ranged or melee units, then you have an imbalance. Baby Jesus would cry. Are you with me?
#25 by Gunp01nt
2002-03-24 19:04:19
supersimon33@hotmail.com
Dev:
now I see why your site isn't finished yet :P
how did you claim the url?


Martin Spatula:

MOH singleplayer started out really great, Omaha beach being the highlight, but it never peaked again after that. It just went on with a bunch of missions (the Siegfried forest being one of the most annoying missions I've ever played) and then when you thought things were just about to get exciting (you're getting closer to Hitler!) the credits roll by straight out of the blue. What a deception...

Multiplayer is kinda nice except that the weapons aren't that suitable for the deathmatch jump/run/shoot everything-style of play me and my clanh0m33z are used to (too small clips... 20 shots on an assault rifle is 10 shots too little). It is a lot more refined than RtCW MP though.


M0ntae:

d00d, the reason why there's not going to be any discussion is because there is no question.

you say a game needs to be balanced to give every player an equal chance of winning.
everyone agrees with that (there are no cheat-your-way-up-to-150+ level Diablo players here, I reckon).

EOD. Sorry.

"I'm not sleeping with a junior high-schooler, I have a life sized doll that looks just like one."
#26 by jafd
2002-03-24 19:08:09
If flying units in Sacrifice were so much more powerful than ranged or melee units, then you have an imbalance.

I beg your pardon? have you even played Sacrifice?

Baby Jesus would cry.

Er... as you believe, so it is so?

Are you with me?

I'm afraid not. I think this boils down to some kind of semantic error, because I read you saying, "that it doesn't work very well in conjunction with another big requirement of modern genres: character progression" and I'm all, like:

1) that's a requirement?
2) it's big?
3) who gives a slaphappy fuck about "modern"? If it's extant, it's been around the whole time, or it'll pass away soon enough.
4) my characters don't have any problem progressing in much of any game, what games are you playing and talking about that have rockscissorstones that do not "work well" with progression?

At this point I'm getting  vague sense of what you mean, but it fails me. Perhaps after I've gotten a little nappy-poo.

Dammit jafd, you helped me write the damn topic,

Did it help?

"Would a bad person encase themselves in puppies like this?"
#27 by Marsh Davies
2002-03-24 19:10:09
www.verbalchilli.com
The Other Martin:
I know it got voted off as it showed up in my pipeline, where I promply deleted it myself.


If it makes you feel any better, the only reason I voted against it was because it had already been discussed. It was a good topic really.

-- ex Spatula Man --
#28 by Dev
2002-03-24 19:10:25
admin@techillimit.net
#25:

Heh, yeah.. it needs a lot of work. The server isn't the best.. thinking about switching to something that can offer more than 20k/s up.  That flash would load bloody quick for broadband users otherwise.  It was more of a test than anything else.  Don't care about 56kers either anymore :)

How else would I claim the url? eh.. make it up, register it with verisign, pay the fee? isn't that how most are done?

"If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic." -- Lewis Carroll
#29 by Marsh Davies
2002-03-24 19:24:23
www.verbalchilli.com
Gunp01nt:

You liked Omaha beach? It was a fantastically accurate simulation of how shit war is.

Being killed arbitrarily, not to mention very frequently, really, really gets on my titties.

Siegrfried was dull, I admit, but I thought the sniper town was the more frustrating. I don't appreciate being shot *through* trees. Again, it was probably very accurate that you had no idea where you being sniped from (even if that was because it was in fact impossible to be sniped from the places you were being sniped from) but it didn't work the other way around. You shot a guy on the other side of a field, whilst hiding in a bush, behind a wall, in the fog, and magically, all his buddies immediately knew where you are. Pssh...

-- ex Spatula Man --
#30 by Ryslin
2002-03-24 20:28:51
(waves piece of paper)
Martin:

hmm still cold.. well do something silly? ask to meet for a moment but bring her lunch ... Not to share but to give to her.. and tell her you will call later.

make it a safe lunch (ala ask about meat or non meat preferances wilst talking about things before suggesting the small "meet") put a paper flower in it .. Make it really obviously a paper flower(like kid cardboard loud color sort of thing)


not a rose.. make it like orange or purple.. LOUD attention getting..
point being something to make her remember....

how she responds to someone giving her lunch(make it small but enough) with a very obvious flower that is not a rose.. states things like .. hey i need a friend and i would like to know you much better..

even if it doesnt graduate you should keep a friend!

Mamma's don't let your Google's grow up to be Yahoo's!
#31 by Ryslin
2002-03-24 20:34:06
(waves piece of paper)
now on anouther note...
balanceing

I HATE KOHAN for this very reason.. i love kohan for its way of play... but damn those darn kohans and technnologies..

see all of these you have to "find" out in the map.. the units on their own are good.. but add elites then kohans(immortal "hero" units) along with one or two very important techs (again you have to run and find) and the other is dead in the water

was playing a game.. for some wierd reason it placed all teh "lairs" with tech on my side and all the kohan amulets(heros are immortal they just shrink to an amulet and get reawakened)where on the other


i couldnt make a dent.. i had superior armor.. forces and so on.. but the bonus from the immortals made it as if the others units where invincible.


i remember spending alot of time with my other half balancing red alert.. down to aircraft and movement
we had a real good one going for awile before i decided that the grenades needed to be dogs

throwing dogs that do tesla damage seriously unbalanced the game but BOY was he surprized!

Mamma's don't let your Google's grow up to be Yahoo's!
#32 by Foodbunny
2002-03-24 20:34:20
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
Dating games are dumb.  Call her when you have the time, don't sit on your hands worry about playing hard to get.  If she's into that kinda crap then she's not worth it.

"Our busts get bigger and bigger because they're bursting with great expectations for the future!  The he`t`nd p`rrhnn vd hnid in our chests is called life!"
#33 by Martin
2002-03-24 20:50:03
http://www.mocol.nu
#32 by Foodbunny
Dating games are dumb.

Not if you ask japanese gamers. 8P I get what you mean though.

Call her when you have the time, don't sit on your hands worry about playing hard to get.  If she's into that kinda crap then she's not worth it.

I'm not really implying that it's a game per se but more something subconcious. It all boils down to psychology I guess. And lets face it, we all want what we can't get.

I feel the same way though, if she's intersted in seeing me it really shouldn't matter if I wait one day or three days to call her. I'm just hoping that she wants to see me again. 8P

-- Martin
Hunkalicious since 1972!
#34 by Martin
2002-03-24 20:53:40
http://www.mocol.nu
And Ryslin, thanks for the idea, appreciated. I don't mind being silly as long as it doesn't go to far and becomes annoying / stupid.

-- Martin
Hunkalicious since 1972!
#35 by Duality
2002-03-24 21:13:51
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
It all boils down to psychology I guess.

Doesn't that fall under the whole idea of playing games?

CounterStrike isn't a team based game, it's bowling for headshots.
#36 by Ryslin
2002-03-24 21:17:47
(waves piece of paper)
once is the limit for that kind of a show

what i was thinking is that it is caring without being overt

silly without obligating them to care.(you wont be there when they open the bag,package, whatever)

and all this sets the mood for a later visit .. in which it is known you are intrested ..and she knows that you can care...

so few women believe men can care anymore...

remember.... your looking for a friend you can make love to
not someone you can have wild passsionate love all day and cant talk to ;)

Mamma's don't let your Google's grow up to be Yahoo's!
#37 by Ryslin
2002-03-24 21:21:38
(waves piece of paper)
playing games

a way to "control" and "imerse" in ones Entertainment

i dont want to read through to a straight line ending (thus why i dislike obvious plot twists in games)
i WANT to be someone ELSE FOR QUITE AWILE!! thus the whole pitcure and make it pretty and please GOD/GODDESS/SOME SORT OF SOMETHING  make it so i can be other than reality

quake was good for that
360s in the air bounce a rocket off someones ass

not into the realism kick.. thou i do like the roach view/huge room maps for UT

ah well

Mamma's don't let your Google's grow up to be Yahoo's!
#38 by Charles
2002-03-24 21:31:31
www.bluh.org
So this rock paper scissors thing is a way to balance that I've never thought of directly, though I'm pretty sure I know what you mean.

It means that given any unit/power/whateverthefuck, there is always one other that can defeat it?

#39 by Bailey
2002-03-24 21:39:57
Martin

Dating games are dumb.

Not if you ask japanese gamers. 8P I get what you mean though.

Gah. Don't get her started about "Relationship Games".

Gunp01nt

d00d, the reason why there's not going to be any discussion is because there is no question.

you say a game needs to be balanced to give every player an equal chance of winning. everyone agrees with that

I disagree.

Don't got time for shame.
#40 by Foodbunny
2002-03-24 21:45:54
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
Oh, I like dating games.  Just not in real life.

"Our busts get bigger and bigger because they're bursting with great expectations for the future!  The he`t`nd p`rrhnn vd hnid in our chests is called life!"
#41 by Matthew Gallant
2002-03-24 21:52:41
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Come on, they're fun.

Marketing is a crutch for mediocrity and a handicap to excellence.
#42 by Martin
2002-03-24 21:57:14
http://www.mocol.nu
#39 by Bailey
Gah. Don't get her started about "Relationship Games".

I'd like to play one of those that doesn't involve the protagonist and 10 young ladies more or less in a constant state of undressing. My knowledge of the japanese language prohibits me from this though. 8/

I disagree.

I agree.

#40 by Foodbunny
Oh, I like dating games.  Just not in real life.

Agree. I would like to be able to tell a girl that I like her without her wondering what other motives I have than getting to know her better. Not all of us thinks with our dicks. 8/

-- Martin
Hunkalicious since 1972!
#43 by Martin
2002-03-24 21:58:52
http://www.mocol.nu
#41 by Matthew Gallant
Come on, they're fun.

Heh, that one is particulary silly IIRC.

-- Martin
Hunkalicious since 1972!
#44 by HiredGoons
2002-03-24 22:11:16
The balancing problem of the "Invincible Rock" is really the the Rock-Paper-Scissors problem the to nth.

Sure, balancing 3 classes is doable.  But then you create 3 races.  So then you have 9 combinations.  Then there are 3 types of armor. 27 combinations.  3 types of weapons. 81 combinations. 3 spells. 243 combinations.  You get the idea.

And in reality, game designers are much more ambitious and there are actually 12 races, dozens of different types of weapons and armor, lots of spells, and hundreds of various special items that impact game play.  Play testing each combination against the others is impractical, if not impossible, so rough guesses are made.  Hence, "nerfing" happens when some of those guesses turn up wrong.

The analogy to to M:tG is interesting, because that system is much more closed.  But, even there, they have problems.  Cards are banned outright or restricted because some a couple of 14 year olds figure out an unstoppable combination and post it on the internet.

So, that's the problem.  Then what is the solution?

The D&D, pencil and paper solution, is to have immediate human intervention.

Another solution might be implement a marketing modifier.  This has nothing to do with advertising.

How it would work, is that the game devs would assign a base power to an item.  Say a +12 Olsen Sword.  However, the relative strength of that sword would wax and wane depending on the amount that other players were using that sword.  Now, it would never decline below a +11 Olsen Sword.  But, if a clever 14 year old discovered a +12 Olsen Sword was really useful when wearing a Ring of Smackdown, and everybody started using it, then the power of those items would decline.

The theory is the code would shift as players discovered "Invicinble Rock" strategies, so that as more players actually used an item, or an ability, it would become less powerful, and players would seek other things.

There are two problems with that right off the bat:

1) Practical - I imagine having a shifting modifier for every spell, item or ability would be horribly intensive on the server.  So, perhaps this market modifier would be used with only the more powerful abilities.  That doesn't eliminate the problem of "Invincible Rock" but maybe it solves some of it.

2) Consequence - As an attempt to restore balance, all meaningful distinctions are removed.  A +12 sword might be the same as +7 Spear or a 8th level lightning bolt.  In trying to eliminate the "Invincible Rock", we've smashed it flat into a thin homogenous paste.
#45 by Sgt Hulka
2002-03-24 22:14:33
Hiredgoons "But, if a clever 14 year old discovered a +12 Olsen Sword was really useful when wearing a Ring of Smackdown, and everybody started using it, then the power of those items would decline."


Excellent example!  By George, I think Hiredgoons is on to something here.

.....Yet Another 0l$en Twin Approved +12 Post!
#46 by Bailey
2002-03-24 23:11:16
HiredGoons

The theory is the code would shift as players discovered "Invicinble Rock" strategies, so that as more players actually used an item, or an ability, it would become less powerful, and players would seek other things.

It was implemented in Asherons Call in regards to spells.

Don't got time for shame.
#47 by HiredGoons
2002-03-24 23:30:55
Bailey --

I didn't know that.  How did it work/not work?
#48 by Neo-Reaper
2002-03-24 23:31:43
neoreaper@excite.com http://octobermoon.homeip.net
#41 by Matthew Gallant
Come on, they're fun.

Oh hey, its True Love!  I played a few silly hentai games, but that one was really the only way that seemed like an actual "game" (mainly due to scheduling your life in sort of The Sims-lite kind of gameplay).  Of course, it was still just an excuse to get cartoon girls naked, and the lame things that your character says throughout the game would get him castrated in real life.

You know, a while back I was debating licensing Garagegames' Torque engine and using to make a dating-sim type game (non-hentai), mostly because I figured no one else would have considered that.  But then I thought about it.

"Dream of me... and maybe, just maybe, this nightmare will end."
#49 by The_Joker
2002-03-25 00:07:31
http://www.jackinworld.com
And I brutally interrupt this thread for this special report:

THE DUKE NUKEM FOREVER TRAILER MOVIE SOUNDTRACK TOTALLY FUCKING ROCKS!!!!!!

That's right, get it here.

David Arkenstone owns!

I'm wondering if he composed the soundtrack after the movie was done or if 3DRealms made the movie based on the soundtrack Arkenstone made (unlikely).

Maybe Broussard or Scott would like to tell us how this was done.

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behaviour, Pedophilosopher
- All your ass are belong to my wang Jafd. Prepare to are penetration.
#50 by Gunp01nt
2002-03-25 00:11:50
supersimon33@hotmail.com
Spatula Martin:
You liked Omaha beach? It was a fantastically accurate simulation of how shit war is.

Yeah, that's exactly why it was so good. It was indeed a very realistic setting. That's what made it awesome to play. As if I was really there (or maybe as if I was in Saving Private Ryan because all the dialogs and actions of the soldiers were ripped straight from there).

"I'm not sleeping with a junior high-schooler, I have a life sized doll that looks just like one."
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