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View Full Version : I hope ACU will allow you to toggle upgrades on and off



Sushiglutton
06-20-2014, 12:01 PM
One thing that I find a bit suprising is that so few games allow you to toggle upgrades on and off. What typically happens in games with skilltrees is that you keep upgrading, because you wanna see what various skills do and the completionist inside of you wants to unlock everything. Then you reach a point when you realize you have upgraded too much and the game becomes too easy and you lose interest (example: naval in AC4).

The trivial fix for this is to allow the player to toggle the upgrades off and in doing so customize their experience as they wish. Ofc if upgrades build on eachother you gonna have to cut a full branch, but that shouldn't be an issue. Ubi has said they want players to play their games for longer. Well this would be a fairly cost effective way of achieving that imo.

If you wanna be really spacey you can have a scoring system that gives bonuses depending on how many upgrades you have activated.

SixKeys
06-20-2014, 12:10 PM
In general I've always found most game design works backwards. A game is supposed to get harder the further you get, but upgrades always make it easier. You have more health, can take more hits, deal more damage and get a variety of insta-kill moves or powerful weapons. The end boss should be the hardest part of the game, but by the time you reach it in most game, you're so strong you don't have a care in the world. I'd like to see a game that makes you powerful at the start and slowly strips away everything that makes you strong until you have only the bare necessities when you're about to face your biggest foe.

Farlander1991
06-20-2014, 01:12 PM
It's a two-edged sword, when it comes to in-game character upgrades especially. Ideally what you would want in the game is to have types of challenges that are 'normal' on each step, and that are a bit above us as well. For example, let's say we have several enemy types.
In the beginning of the game, the first type of enemy has to be normal (i.e. we can take him alright), the second type of enemy should be challenging, the third - impossible, and the fourth is like if he looks at us we're dead.
So when we progress through 1/3 of the game, the second type becomes normal, the first type is easy, and the third type is challenging, while the fourth is impossible. When we go through 2/3 of the game, the first one falls like fleas (there's a certain satisfaction to that when comparing to how battles with them went before hand), the second type is easy, the third type is normal, and the fourth one is challenging. And with that configuration we go through until the end of the game.

It's a very simple and general example (and a flawed one at that), but the point is, there has to be enemies that you can't take yet (but will be able to), and the enemies that you're more or less capable of taking care of should be easier to defeat as time passes, so there's a clear feeling of progression. "Oh, I couldn't beat this one, now I can. Oh, this one was challenging, now it's not, but this other guy still is", etc.

The biggest problem of AC4, for example, is that when we reach the max level, there is no 'normal' counter-part, everything's below us, and the 'hard' counterparts at that point are one-offs (the legendary ships).

There are games, like Oblivion, where enemies scale alongside the player. That kind of thing is ******** and defeats the whole purpose of a progression system.

AssassinHMS
06-20-2014, 01:32 PM
In general I've always found most game design works backwards. A game is supposed to get harder the further you get, but upgrades always make it easier. You have more health, can take more hits, deal more damage and get a variety of insta-kill moves or powerful weapons. The end boss should be the hardest part of the game, but by the time you reach it in most game, you're so strong you don't have a care in the world. I'd like to see a game that makes you powerful at the start and slowly strips away everything that makes you strong until you have only the bare necessities when you're about to face your biggest foe.

Agreed and I think I can explain this. As you may know, games these days aren't really known for the challenge they offer but for their graphics and flashiness. Because of that, there has been a shift in the actual concept of challenge. Since challenge is no longer a priority (which is bad news for gamers' brains), when developers actually incorporate it in their games, they take the easy path. Their game's challenge lays in the size of the enemie's health bar or on the amount of damage it deals. This kind of challenge fosters the typical path, where the player needs to upgrade as his enemies jump rank or until he becomes overpowered. So the challenge is in-game and it stays there.
Another type of challenge (the one I consider healthy) targets the player's brain and not the character's upgrades/strengh. This kind of challenge typically escalates as the player progresses in the game and it is responsible for making a game entertaining. Unfortunately, the visual appeal and the tour concept seem to replace the actual gaming appeal and the games become less about themselves.

Sushiglutton
06-20-2014, 02:10 PM
In general I've always found most game design works backwards. A game is supposed to get harder the further you get, but upgrades always make it easier. You have more health, can take more hits, deal more damage and get a variety of insta-kill moves or powerful weapons. The end boss should be the hardest part of the game, but by the time you reach it in most game, you're so strong you don't have a care in the world. I'd like to see a game that makes you powerful at the start and slowly strips away everything that makes you strong until you have only the bare necessities when you're about to face your biggest foe.

I think a game like that could be interesting, but I don't want that to be standard by any stretch. For starters it makes sense if the controls get more and more complex. If you started with all gadgets and all moves the game could be a bit overwhelming. Then ones you have learned something it gets taken away. By instead gradually introducing new stuff you can kind of portion it out, which makes a ton of sense. Then there is ofc the psychological factor. It's satisfying to get more powerful.

In principal as you learn more and more skills the scenarios should get tougher forcing you to use what you have unlocked. That way the complexity increases throughout the game alongside the difficulty. I think that's much better than facing the final boss with just your basic techniques. That would limit the number of possible strategies, which could in fact make the fight easier.

The problem is that the designer's have to account for people missing to upgrade, or having picked non-optimal ones. The player should never be able to get into a situation where he has to restart the entire game, because he chose the wrong upgrades (at least I'm not that hardcore). This unfortunately implies that if you upgrade smartly the game will become a bit easy.

Again this can be solved by allowing you to toggle some of these upgrades off.

Jexx21
06-20-2014, 02:16 PM
If a game's story was ever supposed to be a "classic epic," I'm all for loosing items and tools as you go through the game.

It would be interesting if, say, Far Cry 4 had you start out with all this gear, but eventually you started loosing some guns, lost the grappling hook, so all you have left by the end of the game is your knife and the ability to rock climb (although I'm pretty sure you can't rock climb in Far Cry 4 but it would be awesome!)

Bashilir
06-20-2014, 03:53 PM
I've decided to go through AC Unity with the least amount of upgrades as possible. I'm HOPING they don't make scenarios like in AC IV where it goes: "YOU SHOULD UPGRADE THE JACKDAW BEFORE YOU START THIS MISSION." Now I like the idea of having skills that you must learn to take down a target (such as the climbing leap Ezio had to learn to take down the target in the Venetian palace). In Assassin's Creed Unity, that "losing skills" won't happen since it's already been said you start out with Arno having the bare bone skills. Even though that would be a fun and different way to approach the upgrading system.

Megas_Doux
06-20-2014, 04:32 PM
Pretty good idea!!!!

But an unlikely one =(

Sesheenku
06-20-2014, 05:29 PM
Wouldn't be that way if the skill trees had balance.

SixKeys
06-20-2014, 08:48 PM
Agreed and I think I can explain this. As you may know, games these days aren't really known for the challenge they offer but for their graphics and flashiness. Because of that, there has been a shift in the actual concept of challenge. Since challenge is no longer a priority (which is bad news for gamers' brains), when developers actually incorporate it in their games, they take the easy path. Their game's challenge lays in the size of the enemie's health bar or on the amount of damage it deals. This kind of challenge fosters the typical path, where the player needs to upgrade as his enemies jump rank or until he becomes overpowered. So the challenge is in-game and it stays there.
Another type of challenge (the one I consider healthy) targets the player's brain and not the character's upgrades/strengh. This kind of challenge typically escalates as the player progresses in the game and it is responsible for making a game entertaining. Unfortunately, the visual appeal and the tour concept seem to replace the actual gaming appeal and the games become less about themselves.

Eh, I don't think it's necessarily intentional. I think it's just the current design philosophy that is being taught to game designers because it generally works and most people just don't question it.


I think a game like that could be interesting, but I don't want that to be standard by any stretch. For starters it makes sense if the controls get more and more complex. If you started with all gadgets and all moves the game could be a bit overwhelming. Then ones you have learned something it gets taken away. By instead gradually introducing new stuff you can kind of portion it out, which makes a ton of sense. Then there is ofc the psychological factor. It's satisfying to get more powerful.

I know the idea I presented is too simplistic to work exactly as described, but I think it's rather a question of finding the right balance between too hard and too easy than outright dismissing it as unworkable (not saying you were being dismissive, just that most game designers probably wouldn't even think about making their game that way). The psychological factor is important, but there's a certain point where it stops being satisfying. Everyone praised TLoU for its challenging AI, which it was....at first. The further you progress, the more upgrades you get, and in the end the much-boasted difficulty really isn't that difficult anymore. The first few hours in every game you're praying for a decent weapon. When you start out with nothing but a knife, you practically fall on your knees and praise the Lord when you find your first pistol or shotgun. That's the point where most games should stop handing out upgrades. A shotgun is more than adequate for most situations. You no longer feel as vulnerable as you did with your puny knife, and you get the satisfaction of having the security of a more powerful weapon. Unfortunately, after this most games still end up handing you an AK-47, flamethrower and rocket launcher. Unless weapons are degradeable, there's really no urgency for such an arsenal, apart from the designers throwing obstacles in your way that can only be overcome with that particular weapon, which I find cheap. Take Tomb Raider, for example. The game mostly does all right with weapons until about halfway when they start handing out upgrades like candy. You get a grenade launcher which is absolutely pointless except you need it to blast open certain types of walls. That's literally the only reason for it to exist in the game. Same with the shotgun. A bow and arrow and pistol are quite efficient at taking on hordes of enemies, but you need the shotgun because it's the only way to blow up certain types of metal obstacles. In TLoU you start off truly feeling like you have to scrounge every corner to survive. Bits of tape and cloth are more valuable than bullets because bullets can't craft you a healthkit or makeshift bomb in a tight situation. The need for scavenging and crafting is one of the game's brilliant ideas. But towards the end they ruin that angle by allowing you to give Joel superhuman capabilities. I loved the game, but when they gave me a flamethrower, I went: "Oh, come on. Really?" It's cliché, unrealistic and unnecessary. I already have six other weapons hanging off my character and I'm almost at the end of the game, I think I can make it.