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[GearHead] Stability, Prosperity, and Justice

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Anonymous
July 8, 2005 3:56:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

In GH1, the PC's personal story was randomly directed but inevitably
led to a single ending. In GH2 I'm hoping to provide a randomly
selected ending as well. This brings up a problem- if the ending is
generated by semi-markov chain random selection, how to provide a
summary at the end of what the PC has accomplished?

This is my idea. Througout the game, events and PC actions will modify
three variables: Stability, Prosperity, and Justice. These variables
represent the effect the PC's actions and the core story have had on
the game world. At the end of the game, depending on whether each value
went up, went down, or stayed the same, there could be 27 different
possible endings.

Stability reflects the political climate and likelihood of war.
Prosperity represents the economic conditions and well-being of the
world. Justice represents how well the bad guys got punished and the
good guys got rewarded.

I selected these three meters to measure based on watching a whole lot
of giant robot cartoons. At the end of Macross, there's a whole lot of
stability but nt so much justice and negative prosperity. The actions
of the Knights Sabers in Bubblegum Crisis appear to negatively impact
on prosperity for the sake of justice.

What do you think?

- Joseph Hewitt
--
DeadCold>
http://www.geocities.com/pyrrho12/programming/deadcold/...
GearHead>
http://www.geocities.com/pyrrho12/programming/gearhead/...
Anonymous
July 8, 2005 5:29:29 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Did you ever play Hidden Agenda? It's an old black-and-white
educational DOS game where you have to run a small South American
country which has just overthrown a dictator. You have to appoint a
cabinet who will advise you throughout the game, make numerous
decisions, and so forth. After ten years (or sooner if you get forced
out of power or something) the game gives you a sort of 'denouncement'
that rates you in various categories and describes what sort of effects
your policies had. You can get the game here:

http://www.sendmefile.com/00015187

....for the next 14 days, anyhow (until July 22.)

Anyway, something like its ending sounds like it might work for GH2.
Having these three meters (and putting the player in moral binds
throughout the game, so that they have to chose one verses another) is
a good start, but you should also consider more immediate and practical
effects. Do the Lunar Revolutionaries succeed in liberating part of
the moon, or are they brutally crushed by Aegis Overlord Luna? Do the
Spinners come out ahead of earth economically/politically, or do
Earth's resources win out in the end? And, most importantly, how do
the player's actions affect this?

Perhaps you could create a 'hidden' logfile, much like the log GH1 uses
to list the player's accomplishments. This log contains a description
of the long-term effects of the player's actions, including any
unintended consequences (e.g. "By bringing Kettel industries to justice
and shutting down their genetic engineering and Dead Zone expansion
programs, you left the Federated Territories with no way to compete
with rival science and industrial programs out in space. Economically
devastated by scientifically superior offworld rivals, their military
rapidly falls behind, and the entire region is eventually reduced to
little more than an Aegis protectorate.") Of course, that's an
exaggerated example, but using something like that could also make the
game more replayable by pointing the player towards what they ought to
do differently if they want a different outcome.
Anonymous
July 8, 2005 11:33:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

At 8 Jul 2005 11:56:45 -0700,
Joe Hewitt wrote:

> I selected these three meters to measure based on watching a whole lot
> of giant robot cartoons. At the end of Macross, there's a whole lot of
> stability but nt so much justice and negative prosperity. The actions
> of the Knights Sabers in Bubblegum Crisis appear to negatively impact
> on prosperity for the sake of justice.
>
> What do you think?

I'm not a great fan of giant robots anime, but I think there's a very
important factor in many of them you seem to be missing.

I can't remember the exact titles of anime I've watched (and some titles
are "translated" into Polish leaving no trace of the original meaning),
but I think a pretty large amount of those movies and series focused
pretty heavily on the emotional life of the characters.

It's not a meter for the game world as a whole, but rather a meter of the
world as seen by the main character(s) -- but why not include some kind of
'emotional outcome', be it broken heart, betrayed friends or happy ending?

--
Radomir `The Sheep' Dopieralski @**@_
(==) 3 Yawn?
. . . ..v.vVvVVvVvv.v.. .
Anonymous
July 9, 2005 1:22:33 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Hi Joe,

> In GH1, the PC's personal story was randomly directed but inevitably
> led to a single ending. In GH2 I'm hoping to provide a randomly
> selected ending as well. This brings up a problem- if the ending is
> generated by semi-markov chain random selection, how to provide a
> summary at the end of what the PC has accomplished?
Ok, i had to look up the markov chain ;-)

For the summary... what is the problem?
I'd just list the deeds done - no additional value for me in
any additional morale counting.

> This is my idea. Througout the game, events and PC actions will modify
> three variables: Stability, Prosperity, and Justice. These variables
> represent the effect the PC's actions and the core story have had on
> the game world. At the end of the game, depending on whether each value
> went up, went down, or stayed the same, there could be 27 different
> possible endings.

That sounds cool.
BUT: How difficult will it be to see all endings? I love to
completely explore a good game...
Anonymous
July 10, 2005 3:35:14 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Andreas Koch wrote:
> Ok, i had to look up the markov chain ;-)
>
> For the summary... what is the problem?

The big problem is that each element of the chain doesn't know what
came before it nor what will come after it. Like GH1, GH2 will keep a
record of the PC's achievements, but I also wanted a summary of their
effects on the game world.

> BUT: How difficult will it be to see all endings? I love to
> completely explore a good game...

Good question. I expect that some endings will be more difficult than
others to achieve (either everything improved, or everything got worse)
but exactly how hard it will be to see all of them is going to depend
on the adventure components, which I've only just begun to write.

- Joseph Hewitt
Anonymous
July 10, 2005 3:42:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

The Sheep wrote:
> At 8 Jul 2005 11:56:45 -0700,
> Joe Hewitt wrote:
> I'm not a great fan of giant robots anime, but I think there's a very
> important factor in many of them you seem to be missing.
>
> I can't remember the exact titles of anime I've watched (and some titles
> are "translated" into Polish leaving no trace of the original meaning),
> but I think a pretty large amount of those movies and series focused
> pretty heavily on the emotional life of the characters.

Good point. I think that'd be much harder to measure, though, and would
depend a lot more on the PC's subjective experiences through the
game... I remember at the end of Fallout feeling disappointed, because
I expected my character to stick around with his Brotherhood of Steel
chums.

- Joseph Hewitt
Anonymous
July 10, 2005 4:09:06 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Aquillion wrote:
> Did you ever play Hidden Agenda? It's an old black-and-white
> educational DOS game where you have to run a small South American
> country which has just overthrown a dictator.

Thanks. I'll try that sometime.

> Having these three meters (and putting the player in moral binds
> throughout the game, so that they have to chose one verses another) is
> a good start, but you should also consider more immediate and practical
> effects.

Moral binds are a good thing (for a game at least), and are one of the
reasons why I like this system. One of the things I hate in certain
other CRPGs is how there are only two paths you can choose: the "good
guy" path and the "bad guy" path. I prefer moral ambiguity, having to
choose between the lesser of two evils, and the absence of right
answers.

As for immediate and practical effects... I'm working on something
along those lines right now. You'll see soon enough. :) 

- Joseph Hewitt
Anonymous
July 10, 2005 2:41:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Joe Hewitt <pyrrho12@gmail.com> schrieb:

> Moral binds are a good thing (for a game at least), and are one of the
> reasons why I like this system. One of the things I hate in certain
> other CRPGs is how there are only two paths you can choose: the "good
> guy" path and the "bad guy" path. I prefer moral ambiguity, having to
> choose between the lesser of two evils, and the absence of right
> answers.

And there's also the problem that people can't always agree on what is
moral or not. I always had problems in Fable trying to figure out what
was good or evil. (Sometimes letting some one live was 'evil'.) I also
didn't like how in games like Fable and Knights of the Old Republic the
game would give you a good/evil choice every two minutes and pretend
that this is what roleplaying is.

I feel like in a game it's much more imporant to track the character's
favor with certain characters, factions, and gods. Also, it seems that
tracking favor would be much easier than tracking morality in an
environment where everything is random.

--
Jim Strathmeyer
Anonymous
July 10, 2005 9:38:16 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

"Joe Hewitt" <pyrrho12@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1120849005.866848.316420@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> In GH1, the PC's personal story was randomly directed but inevitably
> led to a single ending. In GH2 I'm hoping to provide a randomly
> selected ending as well. This brings up a problem- if the ending is
> generated by semi-markov chain random selection, how to provide a
> summary at the end of what the PC has accomplished?
>
> This is my idea. Througout the game, events and PC actions will modify
> three variables: Stability, Prosperity, and Justice. These variables
> represent the effect the PC's actions and the core story have had on
> the game world. At the end of the game, depending on whether each
> value
> went up, went down, or stayed the same, there could be 27 different
> possible endings.
>
> Stability reflects the political climate and likelihood of war.
> Prosperity represents the economic conditions and well-being of the
> world. Justice represents how well the bad guys got punished and the
> good guys got rewarded.
>
> I selected these three meters to measure based on watching a whole lot
> of giant robot cartoons. At the end of Macross, there's a whole lot of
> stability but nt so much justice and negative prosperity. The actions
> of the Knights Sabers in Bubblegum Crisis appear to negatively impact
> on prosperity for the sake of justice.
>
> What do you think?
>

I like it.

As to endings in Song or GMK (new project as a team of three), they
vary. In Song it depends on which religion (or lack thereof) dominates
proceedings (not neccessarily the one to which the player is part of).

However GMK is taking a better approach. Once any of the characters
(it's a kind of party RL) reach a certain level (lvl 10) one of a
selection of game-ending events takes place. Every dungeon in the game
represents a single quest, and these are in turn based on a loose
template (a quest is a single dungeon level). The game-ending event
leads to a special quest, which is a multi=level dungeon. If your party
can complete it, congratulations, if not, well, flee if you can.

So, speaking from the GMK perspective, we have currently two endings
for each class (of which there are only four at the moment), with each
of the two endings depending on various player interactions. Which is
pretty similar to what you have above.

Again, I like it :) .

--
Glen
L:p yt E+++ T-- R+ P+++ D+ G+ F:*band !RL RLA-
W:AF Q+++ AI++ GFX++ SFX-- RN++++ PO--- !Hp Re-- S+
Anonymous
July 11, 2005 11:56:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Jim Strathmeyer wrote:
>I feel like in a game it's much more imporant to track the character's
>favor with certain characters, factions, and gods. Also, it seems that
>tracking favor would be much easier than tracking morality in an
>environment where everything is random.

If you had a large list of factions (and how those factions viewed each
other), how many of the most powerful factions (at the end of the game)
might you have to consider to make a convincing end-game? It might
work if you had a small script (if the engine handled that) for each
faction. Then that script could consider any other factions that might
effect the ending. That'd probably be easier than writing a different
ending for each pair (or more) of factions.
Anonymous
July 12, 2005 5:24:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

"ArchMageOmega" <archmageomega@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1121136986.514988.46710@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> Jim Strathmeyer wrote:
>>I feel like in a game it's much more imporant to track the character's
>>favor with certain characters, factions, and gods. Also, it seems that
>>tracking favor would be much easier than tracking morality in an
>>environment where everything is random.
>
> If you had a large list of factions (and how those factions viewed
> each
> other), how many of the most powerful factions (at the end of the
> game)
> might you have to consider to make a convincing end-game? It might
> work if you had a small script (if the engine handled that) for each
> faction. Then that script could consider any other factions that
> might
> effect the ending. That'd probably be easier than writing a different
> ending for each pair (or more) of factions.
>

Actually that sounds much, much harder. Also less tailored, more
generalised and less special case. I'd recommeed against doing that.

--
Glen
L:p yt E+++ T-- R+ P+++ D+ G+ F:*band !RL RLA-
W:AF Q+++ AI++ GFX++ SFX-- RN++++ PO--- !Hp Re-- S+
!