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View Full Version : Limiters, alternative to optional objectives (Transistor)



Sushiglutton
07-11-2016, 01:06 PM
I keep feverishly burning through my Steam sale purchases and found another gem, "Transistor"! One of the smartest character build systems I've ever seen, really fun to mess around with. Cool artstyle and worldbuilding. Anyway...

One idea I thought was very cool was the concept of "Limiters". A Limiter is a function you can get which effectively make the game harder in some way, but on the upside you will get an XP bonus of 2-4%. The limiters also stack so towards the end you get ~+20% XP rate if you have them all turned on. Example of limiters are that some enemies got a shield, or that you couldn't perform as many actions per turn. Now what was fun about it was that it added variety and made you rethink your strategy. However people who are not interested in more challenge could easily ignore the system entirely.


For AC I'm thinking Limiters could replace Optional objectives as a way to change up missions. They could be collectibles to find in the world. It would mean collectibles that felt meaningful. The lore explanation could be something, something focus energy to improve sync in Animus etc (basically the Animus is a blackhole that can swallow most systems like these lol). Limiters could be like: "Can't air assassinate brutes", "Can't see through walls", "Enemies carry firearms", "Running makes you louder", "Agiles immune to smoke bombs" etc.



You like?

Helforsite
07-11-2016, 07:44 PM
Really like they idea of using these limiters to make the game harder and fix some things!

HDinHB
07-11-2016, 08:04 PM
I don't know about having them be collectibles--"you found a chest with 'can't use ranged weapons' in it"--but I like the idea of replacing 'optional objectives' with 'voluntary constraints.' These could be selectable for each mission and could really improve the replayability and make it more 'play your way.' The devs could recommend 2-3 constraints for each mission in place of optional objectives ("we tried these and they were fun") or the player could pick others ("these didn't work so well for us, but knock yourself out") or none at all.

Sushiglutton
07-12-2016, 01:04 PM
I don't know about having them be collectibles--"you found a chest with 'can't use ranged weapons' in it"--but I like the idea of replacing 'optional objectives' with 'voluntary constraints.' These could be selectable for each mission and could really improve the replayability and make it more 'play your way.' The devs could recommend 2-3 constraints for each mission in place of optional objectives ("we tried these and they were fun") or the player could pick others ("these didn't work so well for us, but knock yourself out") or none at all.

I mean given that the bar is "Animus fragments" I don't think anything can get dumber than that lol. Doesn't have to be a chest, could be presented in a more Animus-y way, like a distortion of space or something. But you are correct that there's a complicating factor for AC, namely that the missions are much more diverse and specific than Tranistor where you always face some sort of closed area combat scenario. Like you say some Limiters would make no sense for some mission types. Hmmm.

I don't really like the idea of selecting them for each mission, because that would kill the flow. It's better if this is something you mess around with in the world and then it just works. I guess one approach would be to divide limiters by gameplay pillar and only the pillar relevant for a mission counted. Problem though is that this is somewhat up to the player (a stealth mission could easily become a combat mission). A more intricate way would be for the game to notice if a limiter has been activated and then grant the bonus. Problem with that is it may make the player behave in some really odd ways (like seeking out combat just to activate certain limiters).

Hmm this may not work then :confused:

SixKeys
07-12-2016, 08:03 PM
Every gameplay feature in AC should be possible to explain within the Animus framework. Optional objectives are explained as being "how the assassin really did it". What would be the justification for telling the user NOT to do something? "Can't see through walls" - what, the ancestor hit their head during that mission and forgot how to use Eagle Vision?

pacmanate
07-12-2016, 08:09 PM
The Division is doing this right now actually. They're called directives and they make the game harder by putting restrictions on you or giving the enemies extra things but by doing this you get a reward increase.

HDinHB
07-12-2016, 08:36 PM
Every gameplay feature in AC should be possible to explain within the Animus framework. Optional objectives are explained as being "how the assassin really did it". What would be the justification for telling the user NOT to do something? "Can't see through walls" - what, the ancestor hit their head during that mission and forgot how to use Eagle Vision?

The Animus is (was) a training tool. You might want to restrict certain abilities to enhance training of other abilities. That's why menu settings (the Animus control panel) rather than collectibles make more sense to me. You might want to play through a vanilla version the first time, then experiment with different constraints on subsequent play-thrus. Some of those constraints could be identified as "the way the Assassin really did it" and some could be training tools. That sounds much more interesting to me than optional objectives, even if the result may be essentially the same. Plus it would give the devs really useful feedback--how many people selected the "skin an alligator while on a tailing mission" constraint?

dxsxhxcx
07-13-2016, 01:27 PM
I don't really like the idea of selecting them for each mission, because that would kill the flow. It's better if this is something you mess around with in the world and then it just works. I guess one approach would be to divide limiters by gameplay pillar and only the pillar relevant for a mission counted. Problem though is that this is somewhat up to the player (a stealth mission could easily become a combat mission). A more intricate way would be for the game to notice if a limiter has been activated and then grant the bonus. Problem with that is it may make the player behave in some really odd ways (like seeking out combat just to activate certain limiters).

Hmm this may not work then :confused:

I believe that the only way to give more depth to this system would be allow the players to select the restrictions they want to impose to themselves, otherwise, if implemented into the game's world like you are suggesting, (IMO) this task could easily become a chore pretty fast.

There's also the Modern Days' story that could get in the way, why would one make things harder for himself/herself when (the MD story implies) they are running against the clock for example? We would need a very specific story for that to make sense, let alone an Animus where the Bleeding Effect is still a thing (if we are going to use the training excuse).

the idea isn't bad, I'm all for more challenge and replayability (god knows how much AC needs these), but I'm afraid that in order for it to work, we'll have to sacrifice a little of our suspension of disbelief.

This limiters system would do wonders in the VR training room (probably the best feature ACB had) though, if it ever comes back.

IMO they should rethink the whole approach behind the optional objectives, make it more natural and immersive and not a to do list like it is today, increase the challenge in all areas also is a must if they want any system like this to work.

Sushiglutton
07-13-2016, 04:40 PM
Every gameplay feature in AC should be possible to explain within the Animus framework. Optional objectives are explained as being "how the assassin really did it". What would be the justification for telling the user NOT to do something? "Can't see through walls" - what, the ancestor hit their head during that mission and forgot how to use Eagle Vision?

Well like I said I don't think the bar is set that high in this regard. I mean some optional objectives are really stupid if we are supposed to believe it's what the Assassin really did. But I think the explanation should be based on the Animus and not the historical fiction. For example it could be that the Limiters will reduce computational load and thus allow the Animus to sync faster.



The Division is doing this right now actually. They're called directives and they make the game harder by putting restrictions on you or giving the enemies extra things but by doing this you get a reward increase.

Ah ok, this may be standard stuff. The Division is more similar to Transistor in that it's just one gameplay pillar repeated indefinitely, so I guess it makes more sense than for AC.



I believe that the only way to give more depth to this system would be allow the players to select the restrictions they want to impose to themselves, otherwise, if implemented into the game's world like you are suggesting, (IMO) this task could easily become a chore pretty fast.

There's also the Modern Days' story that could get in the way, why would one make things harder for himself/herself when (the MD story implies) they are running against the clock for example? We would need a very specific story for that to make sense, let alone an Animus where the Bleeding Effect is still a thing (if we are going to use the training excuse).

the idea isn't bad, I'm all for more challenge and replayability (god knows how much AC needs these), but I'm afraid that in order for it to work, we'll have to sacrifice a little of our suspension of disbelief.

This limiters system would do wonders in the VR training room (probably the best feature ACB had) though, if it ever comes back.

IMO they should rethink the whole approach behind the optional objectives, make it more natural and immersive and not a to do list like it is today, increase the challenge in all areas also is a must if they want any system like this to work.


I think you missunderstood what I meant and/or I wasn't clear. The player should of course choose, that's core to the concept. I just don't want to be greeted with a Limiter selection screen every time I start a mission. What I meant is that I think it's better handled through the pause menu and this is something you can set in between missions. For your second point I refer to my answer to SK. Lastly, t's a good point it would be easier to implement for something like VR rooms because there you have the repetetive base activity.

pacmanate
07-13-2016, 07:14 PM
This is probably the best idea I've heard in a while and I hope they adopt it from The Division. Some off the top of my head for AC.


1. Cannot use Medicine to heal
2. No restocking ammo (you get a set amount to start off with)
3. All enemies become elites (Think AC Revelations with the guys in the masks... I forget their names. Considering that all enemy placements in AC are not true to life or how they were in the past, this could work as a difficulty modifier)
4. Enemy Alert Status is longer
5. Alerting Enemies ends the mission - Pure Stealth (This is the big modifier which gives UBER XP)

I really do like this the more that I think about it. Problem is just justifying the rewards. How do you stop people replaying the same Directives (Calling them these cause of The Division) to just XP boost? I know its a SP game so it doesn't REALLY matter. I guess that's down to the player though.

SixKeys
07-13-2016, 08:45 PM
I like the idea in principle, it's just a matter of wording/presentation that bugs me. Instead of arbitrarily removing gameplay elements without explanation (like downgrading Eagle Vision for a particular mission), I would prefer introducing new elements to the level that explain the restriction.

Take the mission in Syndicate where Jacob has to fill a factory with poison gas. Let's say there was a similar mission in the next game where you have to set a building on fire to smoke out some Templars. On your first playthrough, all you would have to do is light some fuses in strategic places and escape before the flames get you. BUT, on your second playthrough a new challenge could be added, namely that when the assassin did it, the smoke was actually so heavy that it limited their use of Eagle Vision. So now you have to find your way out of the building without (or with a downgraded version of) EV.
That way, instead of just arbitrarily stripping away your abilities, you could explain the new limitation as "how it really happened". Instead of using negative wording like "Can't use Eagle Vision", introduce an extra element into the mission (smoke) that explains the downgrade naturally.

I can see this kind of approach working for several of Sushi's suggested examples. Instead of arbitrarily making you unable to air-assassinate brutes, introduce thick fog or rain into the level that explains why the assassin would have had a hard time telling enemies apart. "Agiles immune to smoke bombs" - give them face masks on the second playthrough. Levels that the Animus first presents as happening during daytime actually happen during nighttime the second time around because it's more "accurate" to how it historically happened. At nighttime certain areas would be closed off, so you couldn't use the same route that you used during daytime. And so forth. Introduce extra environmental elements to provide a natural explanation why the assassin couldn't use all their skills at the time.

Ureh
07-13-2016, 09:13 PM
Arkham City - the only Batman game I've played so far - has modifiers in their challenge rooms (like vantage points can't be used, or detective vision is disabled until you take out a certain jammer, or there's a "shield" that intermittently switches between enemies). I think Thief 2014 has a bunch of modifiers that do exactly as you described. You select the modifiers you want to activate at the beginning of the main story but you can't turn any of them off (unless you want to start over). I think there's even a iron man modifier that results in an instant game over, back to the very beginning, no back-up saves allowed if you get detected. Another one makes it so that you can't take damage in combat.

I prefer self-imposed challenges, just pat myself on the back afterwards. :p I don't want to use medicine right? Well, that's easy, I won't hit the medic button. Don't want to get detected? Well that's up to me too. If I don't want to kill/ko anyone or use tools/ranged weaps during a mission, that's my prerogative. But if the devs got behind this, I guess they could give extra XP, maybe faster in-game currency. Just enough that you can power up faster, but not so much that others feel like they're being left behind or feel like modifiers are "the only way, or the right way". I don't think they should lock anything else behind it (no items, no trophies/achievements, no outfits, story elements, etc). Implement it like the Cheats menu in ACB, easy to ignore, easy to forget, unless you want to turn it on. The point of these modifiers is to bring a challenge to yourself and only yourself, so it shouldn't be in-your-face.

Yeah, it depends on what the modifiers actually do and how they're activated (turned on at the very start of the campaign, or only a mission-by-mission basis, or anytime through the options menu, etc).

Sushiglutton
07-13-2016, 10:06 PM
This is probably the best idea I've heard in a while and I hope they adopt it from The Division. Some off the top of my head for AC.


1. Cannot use Medicine to heal
2. No restocking ammo (you get a set amount to start off with)
3. All enemies become elites (Think AC Revelations with the guys in the masks... I forget their names. Considering that all enemy placements in AC are not true to life or how they were in the past, this could work as a difficulty modifier)
4. Enemy Alert Status is longer
5. Alerting Enemies ends the mission - Pure Stealth (This is the big modifier which gives UBER XP)

I really do like this the more that I think about it. Problem is just justifying the rewards. How do you stop people replaying the same Directives (Calling them these cause of The Division) to just XP boost? I know its a SP game so it doesn't REALLY matter. I guess that's down to the player though.

^^ I like those suggestions.

I guess you could have rules like that you only get XP for a level if you have played three other levels in between. Or an XP cap per level that can only really be reached by using several limiters. If you replay a level you only get the XP that are above what you got last time. Or you can just ignore it and leave it up to the player like you said.



I like the idea in principle, it's just a matter of wording/presentation that bugs me. Instead of arbitrarily removing gameplay elements without explanation (like downgrading Eagle Vision for a particular mission), I would prefer introducing new elements to the level that explain the restriction.

Take the mission in Syndicate where Jacob has to fill a factory with poison gas. Let's say there was a similar mission in the next game where you have to set a building on fire to smoke out some Templars. On your first playthrough, all you would have to do is light some fuses in strategic places and escape before the flames get you. BUT, on your second playthrough a new challenge could be added, namely that when the assassin did it, the smoke was actually so heavy that it limited their use of Eagle Vision. So now you have to find your way out of the building without (or with a downgraded version of) EV.
That way, instead of just arbitrarily stripping away your abilities, you could explain the new limitation as "how it really happened". Instead of using negative wording like "Can't use Eagle Vision", introduce an extra element into the mission (smoke) that explains the downgrade naturally.

I can see this kind of approach working for several of Sushi's suggested examples. Instead of arbitrarily making you unable to air-assassinate brutes, introduce thick fog or rain into the level that explains why the assassin would have had a hard time telling enemies apart. "Agiles immune to smoke bombs" - give them face masks on the second playthrough. Levels that the Animus first presents as happening during daytime actually happen during nighttime the second time around because it's more "accurate" to how it historically happened. At nighttime certain areas would be closed off, so you couldn't use the same route that you used during daytime. And so forth. Introduce extra environmental elements to provide a natural explanation why the assassin couldn't use all their skills at the time.


That sounds more like New game plus. Downside is they have to go through each individual level and think about variations. Limiters would be more systemic so the specifics wouldn't matter as much. They would also work seamlessly (Yay!) in the open world.

I think it's extra value to the idea if Limiters would become a new type of reward/collectible as the devs are desperate (well they should be lol) to find meaningful (aka with some in game implications) ones.

MikeFNY
07-14-2016, 08:19 AM
I like the concept of making the game harder by making enemies stronger or limiting the capabilities of the assassin.

I don't like the proposed idea.

Correct me if I'm wrong sushi, but you're basically suggesting Syndicate's "Gang Upgrades" which, instead of making the enemy weaker(ex: Bad Powder 2 - Templar guns occasionally misfire), they make them stronger.

If so, the problem is still that everything is done through "magic", you find something, you enable it and abracadabra, a guard with no shield suddenly has a shield to defend himself with.

Or a guard that I could kill by sneaking behind him is suddenly so aware of his surroundings that he can hear me from a certain distance.

I mean I don't think it makes sense to suddenly become unable to air assassinate an enemy when two minutes earlier you could do it without problems.

pacmanate
07-14-2016, 12:47 PM
If so, the problem is still that everything is done through "magic", you find something, you enable it and abracadabra, a guard with no shield suddenly has a shield to defend himself with.

Or a guard that I could kill by sneaking behind him is suddenly so aware of his surroundings that he can hear me from a certain distance.

I mean I don't think it makes sense to suddenly become unable to air assassinate an enemy when two minutes earlier you could do it without problems.

It makes sense if you know how the Animus works. The majority of all those guards you see placed around the world are not true to life. The majority were not in those set positions nor did they look (facial wise) like how they look to us.

It's all a simulation based off an Ancestors memories. You think Ezio or Altair can remember every guard they ever passed? At best the only true placement of guards is in high profile areas. The only placement that could be 100% accurate are those Assassin's targets.

Having a guy with no shield suddenly have a shield is plausible as the guy without a shield most likely wasn't even there in the past anyway, so there is no difference.

MikeFNY
07-14-2016, 01:01 PM
It makes sense if you know how the Animus works.

Maybe, but with all due respect I don't care how the Animus works, or better, I'm fed up of all the "Animus" excuses to justify silly additions to the game.

Arno could become somebody else for 40 seconds: Animus hack
Arno could refill his bombs and other consumables without buying or looting them: Animus hack
Evie can become invisible: Animus hack
etc.
etc.

Some features break suspension of disbelief and saying the animus did it doesn't cut it.

And your "nor did they look (facial wise) like how they look to us" statement scares me, it reminds me of a thread where someone suggested an AC game with zombies.

pacmanate
07-14-2016, 01:34 PM
Maybe, but with all due respect I don't care how the Animus works, or better, I'm fed up of all the "Animus" excuses to justify silly additions to the game.

Arno could become somebody else for 40 seconds: Animus hack
Arno could refill his bombs and other consumables without buying or looting them: Animus hack
Evie can become invisible: Animus hack
etc.
etc.

Some features break suspension of disbelief and saying the animus did it doesn't cut it.

And your "nor did they look (facial wise) like how they look to us" statement scares me, it reminds me of a thread where someone suggested an AC game with zombies.

A silly addition is subjective, not to mention that these are totally optional constraints that are up to the player.

Arno becoming someone else, becoming invisible and being able to refill everything without buying IS stupid. I hate that stuff, it makes no sense. There is a thin line between AC trying to be grounded but then breaking its own rules and that is Ubisofts fault.

In relation to the above, if you can become Invisible due to the Animus then why doesn't Bishop or Rebecca just let us do that the entire game? Reason = There would be no game. Ubisoft breaks the game where they see fit.

The Concept of the Animus has become to convoluted to make any sense or have much justification anymore as, in fact, it is just a computer simulator. You could in reality change whatever you wanted too but again, with that comes the problem with there could be potentially no game for us.

Anyway, OP is basically stating to give players the option to make the game harder, and it does actually hit realism points too, especially the ones I listed. Putting a constraint on yourself to give guards more alert time is realistic, no magic medicine use is also more realistic, pure stealth is all realistic. But they are all optional and up to the player. No massive red marks saying you havent done it 100%, there would be none of that.

MikeFNY
07-14-2016, 02:36 PM
A silly addition is subjective, not to mention that these are totally optional constraints that are up to the player.
Yes, absolutely, it is subjective and in fact if they add something like this and they give me the option not to use it, I will certainly not complain.

But I'm just trying to understand the logic behind this suggestion :)

I mean you find a transistor, you enable it to make the game harder, you finish the mission and you are rewarded with a lot XP points but to do what? To use them to make the game easier as it was the case in Syndicate?

Also one can easily self-impose restrictions on his gameplay. I did it with Unity, completing missions without using smoke bombs, without berserk blades and if detected I stopped and restarted.

We do agree that optional objectives should be redesigned and one suggestion I think would work, I forgot who suggested it, is to have a list of optional objectives before the mission starts, let's say 5 or 10 or 50 and then you choose two.

But only after you complete the game, they should not be forced onto the player.

I believe optional objectives were added to give the player a reason to replay missions and I agree with that. So why not unlocking a special feature after you finish the game which allows you to replay missions with restrictions, such as indeed:

1. Do not get detected
2. Cannot use medicine
3. Cannot use smoke bombs
etc.

That would give players a very good reason to replay missions.

pacmanate
07-14-2016, 11:32 PM
Yes, absolutely, it is subjective and in fact if they add something like this and they give me the option not to use it, I will certainly not complain.

But I'm just trying to understand the logic behind this suggestion :)

I mean you find a transistor, you enable it to make the game harder, you finish the mission and you are rewarded with a lot XP points but to do what? To use them to make the game easier as it was the case in Syndicate?

Also one can easily self-impose restrictions on his gameplay. I did it with Unity, completing missions without using smoke bombs, without berserk blades and if detected I stopped and restarted.


This is something I touched on before in reply to Sushi. It could potentially break the game if it kept giving XP as you could keep replaying the same easy mission over and over. Sushi came up with limiting it to a certain amount overall so anything over the max wouldnt count. It would have to be very balanced to stop this as I am not up for easy combat, I want to actually have to use my brain.

SixKeys
07-15-2016, 02:11 AM
It makes sense if you know how the Animus works. The majority of all those guards you see placed around the world are not true to life. The majority were not in those set positions nor did they look (facial wise) like how they look to us.

It's all a simulation based off an Ancestors memories. You think Ezio or Altair can remember every guard they ever passed? At best the only true placement of guards is in high profile areas. The only placement that could be 100% accurate are those Assassin's targets.

Having a guy with no shield suddenly have a shield is plausible as the guy without a shield most likely wasn't even there in the past anyway, so there is no difference.

Is this confirmed somewhere or is it mere speculation? I know the haybales were mentioned in the AC2 manual as being randomly placed in the simulation by Lucy/Rebecca, but I don't remember anything about guard placement being random.

TBH as much as I like the Animus as a framing device, when I'm in the past, I prefer to think we're seeing things how they really happened. Having the game constantly remind me that this is all a simulation that's probably not very accurate at all just kills immersion, like how Bishop would constantly talk to you during co-op missions in Unity. "Hey, just your periodic reminder that you're not actually Arno and those are not actual assassins, carry on with this pretend scenario!"