I have been quiet for some time, which may have suggested that I was busy with other things. That was indeed the case. But the past two weeks have seen a lot of development on Kerkerkruip again, bringing new monsters, new items, new 'systems', and in general bringing us a lot closer to an playable alpha. Most of the things I could post about would be just me being joyous about implementing new things -- there is a joy in the act of creation, and especially in the act of writing code which actually works when you play the game -- but I doubt my audience would enjoy such posts. On this blog, I want to take a step back and talk about design from a point of view that is a little more detached.
So today I'm going to write about a game system that I implemented yesterday, and which I am going to remove from the game as soon as I finish this post. Not because I tested it and it didn't work, but because I suddenly realised it cannot possibly be compatible with my design goals. Today's lesson, then, is to always keep your design goals in mind.
The system I'm going to remove is a simple regeneration system: depending on your regeneration rate (which is normally 0), you will regain health during every round of combat. With regeneration 1 you regain 1 health every round, and so on. Some monsters would have a regeneration (as the trolls in D&D had), and the player would be able to gain regeneration by using certain items or defeating certain monsters. Pretty simply and pretty standard. You can do fun things with it, though; I was already thinking about items which give you regeneration but lower your total health.
But what are some design goals of Kerkerkruip?
- The optimal strategy should be a fun, fast and risky strategy, not a slow, safe and boring strategy. (Players should not be rewarded for doing boring things. None of that old D&D crap where the optimal strategy was to search for traps in every room and passage, and sleep after every encounter.)
- Combat should be fast and exciting. No protracted, seemingly interminable battles.
- Games should be quite short. (These goals are obviously closely related.)
Given all these disadvantages, it is probably best to just kick out the system.
(I am experimenting with monsters that can heal other monsters, but that is a slightly different case. Suppose a group of monsters consists of -- using MMORPG terminology -- a tank, a fragile DPS, and a healer. If the healer is good enough to significantly slow your killing of the DPS, you should take out the healer first. Thus, the optimal strategy avoids dragging out the fight too much, and this strategy is always open to the player. By the way, "DPS" in the meaning of "a character with high DPS" is the worst noun ever.)
It's not as if I'm throwing away a lot of work. This is the entire regeneration system:
A person has a number called the regeneration. The regeneration of a person is usually 0.But I was making a general point. :)
Every turn (this is the regeneration rule):
if hate is present:
if the regeneration of the main actor is greater than 0:
heal the main actor for the regeneration of the main actor health.