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 Season Two Balancing: Monster difficulty, Requisition payout
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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 08:03 PM UTC (Read 4106 times)  
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So. In a stock LotGD game, the Requisition payout runs like this:

Monster level / maximum gold payout
1 36
2 97
3 148
4 162
5 199
6 234
7 268
8 302
9 336
10 369
11 402
12 435
13 467
14 499
15 531
16 563

(level 16 and 17 monsters are what you get when you look for Big Trouble at level fifteen)

I have a feeling that these numbers were decided by looking at the way the healer works:

PHP Formatted Code
$cost = log($session['user']['level']) * (($session['user']['maxhitpoints']-$session['user']['hitpoints']) + 10);


'cause they sure as hell aren't intuitive. Nor are they balanced. This is why newbies end up killing the dragon with over a million gold in their bank accounts.

Furthermore, there are two admin-settable ways to decide how much gold to pay out:
1) e_rand(0,$maxgold);
2) e_rand(($maxgold*0.25), ($maxgold*0.75)) [this is what Improbable Island is set to].

So, with stock settings, a level fifteen player can get 500 gold in one fight, and 10 gold in the next, with no rhyme or reason - while a level one character can only get up to 36 gold. That's a pretty damned big difference, right there.

I call shenanigans on these numbers.

My proposed new array:
Level / raw value in db / minimum / Maximum / Mean
1 50 13 38 25
2 60 15 45 30
3 70 18 53 35
4 80 20 60 40
5 90 23 68 45
6 100 25 75 50
7 110 28 83 55
8 120 30 90 60
9 130 33 98 65
10 140 35 105 70
11 150 38 113 75
12 160 40 120 80
13 170 43 128 85
14 180 45 135 90
15 190 48 143 95
16 200 50 150 100

A "Danger Bonus" will be applied for finishing a fight with fewer than 10% of your overall hitpoints remaining. I'm also probably going to narrow the random effect - I'm just not that big a fan of random numbers in my games. I like my formulae to be based on something I can affect, however indirectly.

There will, of course, be other ways to make money - the most immediately noticeable of which is to sell your Grenades and other equipment. However, there will be other things that you have to spend money on - for example, not feeding your character properly will result in less Stamina per day.

Monster difficulty - as in, how hard the monster hits - remains the same. However, Implants have now changed significantly, with no hard limit on how many times they can be used each day (plenty of soft limits though).

Boss Monsters will award significantly more Requisition. As you've seen with Paris - who has become a guinea pig for my AI scripts - they'll also be significantly harder to beat.

So. Your feedback - what's unbalanced or boring about Season One, and what are the best ways to balance things out while making them more exciting?

(and while we're at it - I'm nearly ready to blow the lid off the Secret Feature. Do you want to know before S2 goes into open beta (its current status is "hilariously unstable testing environment"), or should I wait? Also, do you guys want this done fast, or right? 'cause it's looking more like April now.)


 
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paperrabbit
 Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 08:17 PM UTC  
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Quote by: CavemanJoe

(and while we're at it - I'm nearly ready to blow the lid off the Secret Feature. Do you want to know before S2 goes into open beta (its current status is "hilariously unstable testing environment"), or should I wait? Also, do you guys want this done fast, or right? 'cause it's looking more like April now.)



Firstly, I think we can all wait for the Secret Feature. Improbable Island is, at least at first, a game of discovery. I'm at 14 Drive Kills and I'm still discovering things such as the use of crow feathers and the added benefits of having 80 scavenging skill. We have a Wiki of Lies to help obfuscate these tidbits of information from anyone who tries to jump ahead without actually learning everything for themselves. I think waiting and being surprised by your Secret Feature would fall in line nicely with all that.

Secondly, I would much much rather have season 2 done right than done fast. Look at the game producer Blizzard. They take 2 or 3 times as long as other companies do to produce a game, and what do they have to show for it? Quality product every time. Games that people are still playing years and years later. My friends and I still boot up Starcraft on occasion and play a few LAN games. I think taking your time and getting it right is totally worth it. Especially since unlike those games, we already have Improbable Island to keep us entertained. We're just waiting on an improved version.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 10:09 PM UTC  
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Yes, you have companies like Valve and Blizzard, who release a game once in a blue moon but always have it come out a corker - but I look at the list of things I want to do, and the words "Duke Nukem Forever" keep going through my head... Wink


 
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paperrabbit
 Wednesday, February 18 2009 @ 11:07 PM UTC  
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You could try dividing the list into two sections.
Changes: Things that are already in season one, but will be altered or updated for season two.
Additions: Things that are not in season one, and will be added completely new to season two.

Getting the changes done first could be prioritized, since people wouldn't much like going into season two doing things one way, only to have you alter it partway through. Additions could be left until after, since people would be more willing to accept a new feature that's simply tacked on to the way things already work.


 
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Hermein
 Saturday, February 21 2009 @ 05:06 PM UTC  
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I can't quite wrap my head around the difficulty/payout balancing, but I absolutely trust whatever you come up with. I don't have a problem with randomness, by the way, simply because of the philosophical basis of this game.

As for the question of when to release the surprising new features, I'd wait until the server is live, or do a limited beta with a few folks to test the feature itself, so that the bulk of the contestants get to see it at the same time.

And the schedule? Release it when you are ready to release it. Or when you're so sick of working on it that you just have to have and end to it Wink

Do let us know when there are new things to test on the S2 server, though, since I sometimes go a few days in between checking it. . . I'm still trying to figure out why I'm so fat. I never, ever eat orphans. Except possibly when drunk on gargleblasters, but even then, I don't think so.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Saturday, February 21 2009 @ 06:41 PM UTC  
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The whole Nutrition system is set up to be quite a balancing act.

In the interests of fun over realism, there's only two values to each food type (in addition to the immediate Stamina and/or buff effects) - Nutrition and Fat. Having too much Fat will lower your Stamina, having very little to no Fat will raise it. The inverse is true for Nutrition. Values are carried over daily and affected by other criteria (such as remaining Stamina level) too, so a lot of careful experimentation is called for.

Having both low Fat and high Nutrition will be the mark of a very attentive player.

If someone could give me some feedback on the Museum mission, that'd be cool.


 
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Drakonritter
 Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 06:20 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Hermein

I don't have a problem with randomness, by the way, simply because of the philosophical basis of this game.


Random silliness is fine by me. Random events, random outcomes, no problem. As for randomness in formulae, I'm probably even less a fan of that than CMJ. I am, in fact, ideologically opposed to the Random Number God's influence in certain areas of games.

Also, as CMJ noted, it can make LotGD-based games difficult to balance.


Hermein can summarize, "Look at Windows, but don't touch. Recommend Windows only to your enemies."
 
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Hermein
 Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 08:40 PM UTC  
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Quote by: CavemanJoe

The whole Nutrition system is set up to be quite a balancing act.
. . .
If someone could give me some feedback on the Museum mission, that'd be cool.


Hmm. Glad to hear that I'm supposed to be having trouble with Nutrition. Hell, I have enough trouble with it in RL, why should the Island be different? And as for the Museum, at one point someone mentioned meeting Mr. Havelock Stern there, but every time I've visited it's just the Museum. Am I Not Worthy? Probably not, in which case, what do I have to do to be Worthy?


 
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SicPuess
 Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 09:32 PM UTC  
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I say:
Req Balancing: YES.
S2: Wait until it's ready, keep the secret a secret. (I wouldn't mind testing it, though.)

I don't think the whole Food thing is very complicated. All it requires is a bit of reading (then again, whatever I say here applies to NH and KT's stores.). And a bit more of Requisition.

(It was me who met Mr Stern. A shame I deleted that character (2 DK, Lv 1 at that time, I think) by now that I read this. It took me a while to find out where exactly to look for what he wanted, and I hadn't found any.)


 
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CavemanJoe
 Tuesday, February 24 2009 @ 12:01 AM UTC  
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@Hermein - to meet Mister Stern, just try to play as though you were a brand-new player who hadn't been in the Museum before.

Secret: Yup, it'll remain secret for now. Petition me on the S2 server if you want to beta-test, and I might let you in. Places will be limited. Beta may take a while yet.


 
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TheMuffinMan
 Tuesday, February 24 2009 @ 03:42 AM UTC  
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I just did the museum quest and I have to say that I loved the ending. Nice touch, CMJ. PV though... *shudders at the memory of it*

Quote by: SicPuess
(It was me who met Mr Stern. A shame I deleted that character (2 DK, Lv 1 at that time, I think) by now that I read this. It took me a while to find out where exactly to look for what he wanted, and I hadn't found any.)

I think you were looking in the wrong place then, you'll get the item without much work. It helps to think like an exploring newbie, looking at every location. [/vague hint as to not spoil all the fun]


 
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Tor NaGoth
 Tuesday, February 24 2009 @ 06:23 PM UTC  
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I enjoyed the museum quest immensely, and look forward to more hidden gems in S2. I'd volunteer for the Beta, but I think I'll wait for the surprise, unless you really need a Questor's touch.

By the way, my vote is for 'do it right' as opposed to 'do it now.'


 
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hajen
 Tuesday, February 24 2009 @ 07:26 PM UTC  
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been enjoying the thread too much and realized i hadn't commented on the question of let's get SII started or let's get it right.
i am firmly in the camp of get it right, unless of course we make it to August and the specter of Duke Nukem Forever looms.

my reason: i've been flagshipped* once and didn't like the experience. i can wait for something that isn't bug-infested.







*search on 'flagshipped' or 'hellgate:london' to understand my pain Evil


"tis better to be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt"
 
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MechaMonkey
 Tuesday, February 24 2009 @ 09:46 PM UTC  
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I'm still a newcomer to Season 1, so I'm may not be itching for things new and exciting as much as the older players, but I have to agree with the "get it right" camp. Releasing a buggy, unbalanced Season 2 will almost indefinitely put off more players than it brings in. Players, especially new ones, want to see a finished product, not potential, however great that potential may be.


 
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Anonymous: Twitching Bob
 Wednesday, April 29 2009 @ 10:02 AM UTC  


Speaking of unbalanced....

I'm level 1, max 30 hp. I hit "easy fight" because I keep getting moidered by everything, even though I've got all the weapon and armor I can afford.

"You have encountered Blonde Heiress which lunges at you with purse dog!"
She's level 2, and 128 hit points - a bit of a startler for an Easy. She's fairly wimpy though, and I do kill her with the aid of one of each grenade and two or three chemical vials - but then:

End of Round:
Blonde Heiress's Hitpoints (Level 2): DEFEATED
YOUR Hitpoints: 15
Light beams down on you from the heavens as a voice booms, "Good Job."
You have defeated Blonde Heiress!
90 shiny Requisition tokens are dispensed from the nearest camera!
***Because of the simplistic nature of this fight, you are penalized 6 experience!
(24 - 6 = 18) You receive 18 total experience!

Simplistic!?? A level above me and four times the HP? Is that right?

(I was also surprised to see that 128hp shows up a yellow bar on the currently-broken HP meters)


 
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