Iron Tower Studio ForumsRPGThe DepositoryDesigning Character Systems with Josh Sawyer
Pages: 1 ... 5 6 [7] 8 9   Go Down
Print
Author Topic: Designing Character Systems with Josh Sawyer  (Read 44860 times)
MF
Apprentice

Posts: 87


View Profile
« Reply #90 on: August 27, 2008, 05:08:25 AM »


Quote
Did you miss my question about your age or don't you want to talk about it? I'm curious. You seem to project a lot of the issue on yourself to reach your conclusions.

I am curious, too. What does my age have to do with this discussion? If I tell you that I could be your mother, would it change anything? If I tell you that I am actually a 75 yrs old man, would it change anything?

Yes, dammit, it would. There's only so much life experience you can fit in twenty years, and a lot of life's most valuable lessons are learned after you start fending for yourself. Discussing the nature of man with people who haven't figured themselves out yet is tiresome. I'm not implying you're one of those people, I'm asking how old you are to adjust my frame of reference and become more of a prejudiced asshole.

And for someone who's dropping the discussion, you sure went off on that Napoleon tangent like nobody's business. This probably should have been a PM.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 05:25:05 AM by MF » Logged
Gareth
*
Posts: 3103


Indubitably


View Profile WWW
« Reply #91 on: August 27, 2008, 07:29:06 AM »

Ellorien has made good points MF, don't get personal. Even though you mask it nicely, all it amounts to is "I think you're disagreeing with me because you're too young to understand how right I am!".

Also, I agree with Ellorien about the charisma thing. Famous charismatic characters in history weren't hypnotists. Sure, they had "presence". But there was also a whole bunch of context to the events, politics and social circumstances. Napoleon, no matter how charismatic he was, wouldn't have been able to convince those soldiers to switch sides if he'd just been some random nobody off the street, charisma or not. It wasn't that his "charisma hypnotized them". It was that they were hovering on indecision and his skilled arguments pushed them over the edge.

Charisma can't make you do things you simply wouldn't do otherwise, it can only urge you into choosing paths you might have chosen anyway. Persuasion, not a magical mind control ray gun.
Logged

“The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” - George Bernard Shaw

My blog
Morbus
Expert

Posts: 1045


Wastelander


View Profile WWW
« Reply #92 on: August 27, 2008, 08:17:50 AM »

There's only so much life experience you can fit in twenty years
Yet my grandma is 86 and I'm 21 and still I know a hell of a lot more stuff then she. In mostly every single aspect... Confused And I'm not being cocky at all...

I'm just saying people learn at different rates. Age alone tells you nothing.

and a lot of life's most valuable lessons are learned after you start fending for yourself. Discussing the nature of man with people who haven't figured themselves out yet is tiresome.
Who's to say an old person even started fending for herself? Who's to say she figured herself out?
Logged

Wendigo Design, by Tiago Sá
Vince
Developer

Posts: 6595



View Profile
« Reply #93 on: August 27, 2008, 09:27:17 AM »

With Luck, it's very easy to regard it as a universal modifier. Chance to hit increases, chance for positive random encounter increases, chance on skill check critical is raised, etc. But how on earth could you rationalize this stat? Is anyone objectively more lucky than anyone else?
In some areas? Definitely. I know several people who are, I'd say, extremely lucky in their professional fields (good boss who helped a lot, good project, happened to be somewhere in the right time, said the right thing, even happened to be in the right elevator at the right moment). Not sure about whether or not it's balanced by something else.

Edit: And we can all agree that anyone who can a lottery is a lucky person by definition.

Quote
I really loved what luck did in Fallout, but it's a double edged sword in the sense that you have no real idea what it does when you pick it.
So how would you design this attribute?
Logged
MF
Apprentice

Posts: 87


View Profile
« Reply #94 on: August 27, 2008, 09:51:38 AM »

I'm not talking about the ability to learn things. I'm sure you're all intelligent people able to learn fast. I'm talking about the kind of introspective lessons you only get through experience.

For example, Morbus, I think your grandmother has dealt with death a lot more than you have. Just a hunch.

I still think you guys are looking at charisma through an overly rational lens. Let me switch the angle here and look at it from a passive point of view. Some people can be complete assholes and insult people on a whim and still be loved. Explain that.

Quote from: Vince
So how would you design Luck?
Just like in Fallout. Affect the dice, critical chance, etc.
It's just that the description, "Fate. Karma. An extremely high or low Luck will affect the character -- somehow. Events and situations will be changed by how lucky (or unlucky) your character is." sounds like a dump stat to players who don't know what it does. I only raised it on my third play-through when I wanted a thief that could pick-pocket everyone and sneak everywhere,  so I did away with Strength completely to maximize every attribute that might benefit a thief. I thought that Luck would probably affect it somehow and raised it to 9. I got all the random encounters for the first time in that play-through.

Also, I tend to think of the abstract thing 'luck' as something that comes in waves. Sometimes you're lucky, sometimes you're not. I do know a son of a bitch that aced not one, not two but three multiple choice exams in five minutes without studying though, so my conceptualization of luck is probably flawed. In games, I think it's a nice thing to have and  you don't need to rationalize everything. Hell, I was arguing against that in regards to charisma.

Let me point out something interesting, though :
Arcanum didn't have a Luck attribute. Since it was basically designed by the same people who did the design for Fallout, I wondered why they omitted this attribute. First I thought they did away with it because of the reason I gave above : It's a fuzzy stat. Then I thought of something else. I think I've got it figured out : It would cripple the Magick vs. Technology Jinx. If you're a Magick user coming across Technology, everything goes wrong and vice versa. It's the situational equivalent of Fallout's Jinxed trait. Having 10 Luck would negate this system.

It's the only reason I can think of they would omit an otherwise fine Luck system. When Arcanum came out I wondered how they were going to handle Luck, and it turns out they didn't.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 09:57:14 AM by MF » Logged
Vince
Developer

Posts: 6595



View Profile
« Reply #95 on: August 27, 2008, 10:05:00 AM »

I'm not talking about the ability to learn things. I'm sure you're all intelligent people able to learn fast. I'm talking about the kind of introspective lessons you only get through experience.
Completely agree.

Quote
I still think you guys are looking at charisma through an overly rational lens. Let me switch the angle here and look at it from a passive point of view. Some people can be complete assholes and insult people on a whim and still be loved. Explain that.
That's exactly what I'm typing right now in my response to Ellorien.

Quote from: Vince
Just like in Fallout. Affect the dice, critical chance, etc.
How often? All the time? Every now and then? One in ten? Waves?

Quote
It's the only reason I can think of they would omit an otherwise fine Luck system. When Arcanum came out I wondered how they were going to handle Luck, and it turns out they didn't.
They went with Fate points, which were basically a focused equivalent of Luck, allowing you to decide when you want to be really lucky. I didn't like it though.
Logged
MF
Apprentice

Posts: 87


View Profile
« Reply #96 on: August 27, 2008, 10:22:17 AM »



Quote from: Vince
Just like in Fallout. Affect the dice, critical chance, etc.
How often? All the time? Every now and then? One in ten? Waves?
Well, if I were to design the system, it would be very similar to Fallout, but done by something I'll call Reverse Character Definition.

Strength is an easy attribute to conceptualize. Some people are stronger than others. They can lift more, they probably look bulkier, a punch from a strong man hits harder than a puny prod from a weakling, and so on.

Luck, however, is something else. You said that winning a lottery makes you lucky by definition. So when is a person lucky? If the person wins the lottery. It's not an inherent trait, rather, that person became lucky when he or she won the lottery. Was the person always lucky? Did he have more luck than others during the course of his life? It doesn't matter. He won the lottery, so he's lucky. Winning the lottery automatically increases people's perception of your luck enough to last a lifetime and be considered lucky.

How do you represent something like that in a game? By looking at the attributes from another angle. The attributes form the basis of a character system, but is Luck really part of the character?

I think the best way to look at this, is that a Luck attribute determines the amount of luck that the game world blesses this character with. It's not an inherent trait of the character, rather a parameter you pass to the world to tell it "Hey, world, throw this character a bone or two". Of course, this is exactly what happens under the hood with any attribute, but I don't think it hurts to convey this idea to the player with stats that are fuzzy.


Quote
Arcanum went with Fate points, which were basically a focused equivalent of Luck, allowing you to decide when you want to be really lucky. I didn't like it though.

I missed that. I thought the Fate points were a patchy hack to get players out of 'places of bad design', eg. bail out players that got stuck. Which may also be true, but I never associated it with Fallout's Luck until now, thanks for the insight.

The big difference between the two is that you had to earn fate points. It's not an attribute. It's more of a karma thing. I think the Fate points would have worked as an alternative to Luck if it was based on a character parameter at the cost of stat points, conveyed to the player in terms I described above.

I've also thought of a novel system to do luck :

You can cement the idea of luck in the game world by using a lottery system.
The game world has a 'luck counter' that fills up with every action. With every dice roll, the player has the ability to tap into this 'luck counter', based on his luck attribute. If it's high, the chances of tapping into it are higher, if it's low..you get the idea. The thing is, every character in the game can tap into this 'luck counter' based on their own 'luck' stat compared to the total luck involved. If you use a luck counter, it resets itself back to zero. The count of the luck counter determines the effectiveness of your lucky streak.

Example (combat for easy descriptions):
PC fights two NPC's. PC is Luck 8, NPC A is Luck 2, NPC B is Luck 6
PC hits NPC A in the head for 10 points. Luck counter +1
NPC B hits PC in the groin for 2 points. Luck counter + 1
NPC A heals himself. Luck counter +1
PC hits NPC B in the head for 40 points. He tapped into the luck counter and did (3)* damage.

Luck counter is now back to zero., NPC B is dead. Someone with Luck 6 dies, so PC's relative luck rises.

NPC A heals himself. Luck counter + 1
PC heals himself. Luck counter + 1
NPC A kicks PC, critically fails and dies. PC tapped into the luck counter because his nominal Luck in the game world just got higher, 8/16 became 8/10.

It would be a bitch to implement this outside of combat, though. It would mean keeping track of the Luck of all the characters in the game and raise programming issues akin to complete collision detection. It's based on the idea that if that arrogant gander is lucky, Donald is always on the butt end.

Edit : It's a dumb, contrived system. Forget about it.





« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 10:57:41 AM by MF » Logged
Vince
Developer

Posts: 6595



View Profile
« Reply #97 on: August 27, 2008, 10:26:44 AM »

Why?
Narrow focus again. You're talking about very specific applications like promising hope and salvation.

Quote
"They adopt their leader's "vision" primarily because of his promise to satisfy their needs."
Looks like you simply don't believe in charisma and are trying to explain charisma in terms you can understand. Here is a quick example. Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa. The guy is basically a charismatic asshole. He doesn't promise salvation, he doesn't give hope, he is not even a leader. Yet his charisma makes him likable despite the fact that he plays a rude asshole.

Quote
Many officers were torn between 'honor and duty' that told them to stay loyal to the regime they disliked and the 'memory that tugged them back' to Napoleon.  Once again, Napoleon was not a random guy with maxed-out charisma. Many officers (Ney included) owed their careers to him.
There are a lot more examples of people not sacrificing or risking their future for someone whom they owed everything, then of what Ney did.
 
Quote
Not denying the amplifying effect of Napoleon's charisma, I tend to think that it is a gross simplification to state that Ney join Napoleon because "the power of Napoleon’s personality was too great".
I enjoyed your analysis of the situation and I'd like to state again that nobody is saying that it was only Napoleon's maxed-out charisma that did the trick. There were many other factors, however, if he wasn't a very charismatic leader, he wouldn't have been able to take advantage of the situation. While the situation itself isn't unique and Napoleon isn't the first "king" who wanted to come back, he is the only one who succeeded without firing a shot.

Logged
Vince
Developer

Posts: 6595



View Profile
« Reply #98 on: August 27, 2008, 10:37:46 AM »

Luck, however, is something else. You said that winning a lottery makes you lucky by definition. So when is a person lucky? If the person wins the lottery. It's not an inherent trait, rather, that person became lucky when he or she won the lottery.

Or maybe he/she won a lottery because he/she is lucky?

http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/donna-geoppert-won-the-lottery-twice.html

"Donna Geoppert won $1M in a Pennsylvania Lottery scratch ticket this year. Then… last week, she another million bucks last week."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14751656/

"A woman who won $1 million from a state lottery game four years ago has improbably hit the jackpot again.

Valerie Wilson, who works at a Long Island deli, said she won another $1 million on a lottery scratch-off game last month."

Quite a few examples like that.

Quote
I think the best way to look at this, is that a Luck attribute determines the amount of luck that the game world blesses this character with. It's not an inherent trait of the character, rather a parameter you pass to the world to tell it "Hey, world, throw this character a bone or two".

That's definitely more interesting than simply increasing rolls. It's not hard to design "lucky" paths and solutions. Kind of like:

You approach a gate and then some drunks start a fight with a guard who doesn't let them in. You use the distraction to get inside. Why? You were lucky.
Logged
MF
Apprentice

Posts: 87


View Profile
« Reply #99 on: August 27, 2008, 10:55:03 AM »

You approach a gate and then some drunks start a fight with a guard who doesn't let them in. You use the distraction to get inside. Why? You were lucky.

Sounds great. It immediately strikes me as the essence of what luck is.

In the system I described above, it could be done procedurally by having the PC win the Luck jackpot compared to the luck of the two guards. Then again, I think scripting this is a more sane approach. The more I think about the luck counter, the more I associate it with procedural dialog and all the trite, bland stuff that comes with it. Nice in theory, unimplementable in practice.

But what you mentioned could be easily scripted, because it's short and fun. Great line.

Should it work the other way around too?

"As you skillfully sneak past the guards, one of them had to go for a piss in the very bush you used as cover, and draws his sword. Well, his other sword. Why? Just bad luck."

That would cripple the thief character. Keeping very low luck's effect limited to dice rolls would solve this, but that might be missing an opportunity for good C&C.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 11:23:47 AM by MF » Logged
Fosse
Craftsman

Posts: 286


View Profile
« Reply #100 on: August 27, 2008, 11:38:00 AM »

Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa.
This example made me realize that I've never seen an RPG interpret Charisma in such a way that this character would be possible. 

It's either a roll bonus (D&D), a reaction modifier (Fallout, Arcanum), a skill limiter (Arcanum), or a follower limiter (Fallout, Arcanum).  Truly charismatic people really can get away with a lot more.  There's a guy at work who is a huge doucebag.  Everybody talks about what an asshole he is.  We all still really like him, even if he's crossed us personally and intentionally, because he's inexplicably charismatic.

Charismatic people who are blunt get commended for "telling it like it is," or "just saying what everyone else is thinking."  Charismatic people who are rude are excused because they at least treat everyone the same.

A neat way to model Charisma in NPC conversations might be to have a traditional reactions meter combined with an Obsidian style influence meter.  Your conversation choices affect both meters independently.  The Reactions (bad, generic word, but I'll stick with it for now) is a measure of how much people like you, and the influence meter is a measure of how much ability you have to compel or coerce them.

Reactions go up and down according to PC actions, reputation, faction alignment, and some dialogue choices.  Influence goes up and down, modified by Charisma, according to some speech options that include flattery, bullying, etiquette, sexual appeal, or anything appropriate to the NPC in question.

A guy who isn't charismatic can still be likable, and NPCs who he deals favorably with will have a high Reaction and offer help and information.  An unlikable guy with charisma will be able to wheedle similar help out of people.  You can "beat" a conversation tree's stat checks either with Reactions or Charisma.

If different NPCs have different thresholds for susceptibility to Charisma and Reaction then each PC that plays through a social game will have unique experiences.  It also lets NPCs get more specifically defined as social actors, and lets us treat different people in different ways for optimal results. 

And it does so without simply cheesily inserting the one or two seedy characters who like you more just because you chose the "insulting" line of dialogue.
Logged
Wrath of Dagon
Archmaster

Posts: 2067



View Profile
« Reply #101 on: August 27, 2008, 12:36:57 PM »

Given that the odds of the same person winning the lottery twice have to be less than 1 in 1,000, it's more likely that most people who claim they won the lottery twice are lying.
Logged

Secondly--MURDER? Merely because I had planned the duel and provoked the quarrel! Never had I heard anything so preposterous.
Vince
Developer

Posts: 6595



View Profile
« Reply #102 on: August 27, 2008, 12:42:28 PM »

Unfortunately, that's not the case (since it's the lottery officials who are making these claims). They are just very, very lucky.

Logged
Wrath of Dagon
Archmaster

Posts: 2067



View Profile
« Reply #103 on: August 27, 2008, 01:03:44 PM »

Again, it may be sloppy reporting which makes it appear that these wins are real and confirmed by lottery officials. Inaccurate information in the press is by no means uncommon. If someone was to confirm all the double wins, and calculate the chances of winning each lottery and over how many lotteries in total the double wins took place, that could be a very compelling evidence of the existence of supernatural. Being a skeptic, I'll wait for such a study.

Edit: After thinking about it some more, I take that back. I neglected in my calculation that there have to be thousands of lottery winners by now. So with thousands of winners, and thousands of lotteries, the chances of a few people winning twice are quite reasonable, so it should be expected to happen.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 01:13:26 PM by Wrath of Dagon » Logged

Secondly--MURDER? Merely because I had planned the duel and provoked the quarrel! Never had I heard anything so preposterous.
Vince
Developer

Posts: 6595



View Profile
« Reply #104 on: August 27, 2008, 01:19:02 PM »

Google "wins lottery again" and see what comes up. There are too many cases to be all mistakes and unverified facts.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20530196/

"Adeline and Eugene Angelo won $5 million Thursday after buying the winning ticket in last week’s New York Lotto. In 1996, they won $2.5 million after splitting a $10 million jackpot with three other people."

http://www.lotterypost.com/news/180238

"The Mount Horeb couple who made headlines earlier this week because they held two of only four winning tickets sold in Wisconsin for Saturday's SuperCash drawing, turn out to have the other two as well.

Verlyn Adamson, 69, and his wife, Judith, 69, of Mount Horeb, turned in the other two tickets and it turned out they are the only winners in Saturday's drawing and are now $1.4 million richer.

Lottery spokesman Andrew Bohage was surprised when the Adamsons held the first two winning tickets. "I don't recall a time when we've had members of the same household win in the same drawing like that," he said, when they turned in the two tickets.

His shocked doubled today.

"We haven't seen anything quite like this before," he said after learning the Adamsons had the other two winning tickets. "This is unique."

The Adamsons presented two tickets to lottery officials which had Saturday's winning numbers and each of those tickets paid out $350,000. Then they brought in the other two winners, which now raise the total they have won to $1.4 million.

The four tickets were purchased at four different stores in four different communities, lottery officials said. They bought one ticket each at the Stop-N-Go on Highway 18-151 in Barneveld, the Darlington Mini Mart at highways 23 and 81, The Pit Stop in Mineral Point, and the Cenex Mini Mart in Mount Horeb."

What do you think the odds of THAT are?

Also:

http://www.oddee.com/item_82923.aspx

"In Detroit sometime in the 1930s, a young (if incredibly careless) mother must have been eternally grateful to a man named Joseph Figlock. As Figlock was walking down the street, the mother's baby fell from a high window onto Figlock. The baby's fall was broken and both man and baby were unharmed. A stroke of luck on its own, but a year later, the very same baby fell from the very same window onto poor, unsuspecting Joseph Figlock as he was again passing beneath. And again, they both survived the event."

"Henry Ziegland thought he had dodged fate. In 1883, he broke off a relationship with his girlfriend who, out of distress, committed suicide. The girl's brother was so enraged that he hunted down Ziegland and shot him. The brother, believing he had killed Ziegland, then turned his gun on himself and took his own life. But Ziegland had not been killed. The bullet, in fact, had only grazed his face and then lodged in a tree. Ziegland surely thought himself a lucky man. Some years later, however, Ziegland decided to cut down the large tree, which still had the bullet in it. The task seemed so formidable that he decided to blow it up with a few sticks of dynamite. The explosion propelled the bullet into Ziegland's head, killing him."
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 5 6 [7] 8 9   Go Up
Print
Jump to: