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  Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:47 pm
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Competent Minion
Flow State is that sweet spot where a game challenges your skill level just enough to be fun, but isn't too easy. That can be hard to engineer that feeling in Rpgs, especially linear rpgs. And even more so when the enemies are avoidable. Because if you fight everything in front of you, there's no challenge, the exp is basically staged out in front of you.

I was thinking back on the first .hack games and realized they did something really clever. Because the dungeons are generated by a selection of keywords, the player was basically figuring out what their own sweet spot was. They could take it easy and loot items and chests on a lower level at their leisure. Or, if they were interested in exp, they could generate a higher level field with an elemental advantage based on their equipment to take out tougher monsters to level up quicker.
I guess I can only speak for myself, but I think I was unknowingly finding my own groove.
It's interesting too, because the random dungeons and trading system made every playthrough experience somewhat unique. You, the player, were constantly looking for better equipment trades, drops, or rare finds.

Or course, I don't have an answer for how to do this in a more traditional standard linear rpg.
That's something I'd like to discuss.

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  Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:46 pm
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Big Dumb Guy

Location: UK
I tend to think of the item inventory on this regard. When I'm battling everything that's in-front of me, I tend to rely less and less on consumable items and more on stat-building and buying the best equipment.

I think consumable items are a good way to tackle a challenge without relying on experience and levelling. You can throw grenades and potions at the problem until it goes away. My immediate thoughts on implementing this would be to actually show the player what items will be effective against a boss.

Maybe open up with a grenade being thrown by an NPC and doing massive damage, then the dialogue could say briefly "Grenades seem effective" - maybe only show this if the game detects the player is at a low level. Perhaps give the player access to an obvious chest filled with the item that will work nicely against the boss. Someone focusing on stat building may want to sell these items for stronger equipment - or hold onto them in the "too good to use" collection.

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  Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:57 pm
butts n booties
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Party Mascot
I feel like flow state needs to do less with levels and stats and more to do with creative gameplay and challeges.

Most every game essentially has a difficulty ramp; from Mario64 to Darksouls. A lot of the games not only increase stats as you continue through the game, but they also imtroduce new mechanics as well while demanding you to refine your original skills. This creates a sense of accomplishment; the player had to be skillful and creative when tackling the area.

How does this translate to a traditional wRPG or jRPG. Wrpgs tend to do a pretty good job at variety; DD is all about coming up with creative methods to get past obstacles. I feel like later games have really highlighted this, divinity sin 2 probably being the best iteration.

Jrpgs generally do not follow this level of creativity. Part of the reason is because most follow a lot of tropes and cliches. The elemental system is still present in most jrpgs today, generally with the same elements that have been around since FF. Jrpgs tend to not have a lot of freedom and choice when tackling foes; generally it boils down to finding and exploiting elemental weaknesses. You can only build on that concept so long before it gets stale.

I feel as if progress shouldnt be levels and numbers but actually learning about the game and its intricacies. We are actually starting to see thus trend. The Witness is a great example of this. The Witness is an open worldpuzzle game which generally only has one kind of puzzle; get from point A to point B. However the game introduces new difficulties that let you tackle other puzzles on the island. Basically the game teaches you rules as you progress in the game. You have all the skills to solve everything at the very beginning of the game; however you dont have the knowledge.

Difficulty needs to be satisfying and original; i play too many games that feel artificial thanks to lack of creativity.

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  Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:52 am
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L1 Slime

Location: Denver, CO 80202, USA
10 minute video on Flow State (Being in "The Zone") and Role-Playing Games. This was rushed for a class assignment, so apologies for the poor audio and video quality, and how dry my style is, but people have reported it being useful information. I am hoping to have time to overhaul it and make the audio and video better quality. But hopefully this rough draft is still useful to others in the mean time. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dbtma-4qUl810

I play horror games on ohorrorgames.com for many years and i think it's interesting

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  Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:28 pm
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Competent Minion
I like 2 of those 3 flow state conditions mentioned.

1. Clear set of goals and measure of progress.
2. Immediate feedback

Number 3 is more of a gamble
3. Balancing challenge and skill level - so that achievement is in sight.

Setting that up sounds subjective and something only gamemasters can do in tabletop rpgs, because they are sitting with the players and can tailor the experience.
But for VG developers who can't observe players, they'll have to take shots in the dark and try to anticipate playstyles.

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