View Full Version : [Misc] Tutorial Contest - SC2 Beta Keys! - Submissions
This thread is ONLY for submissions to the contest, all other posts will be deleted and the posters severely punished.
The contest in question can be found here (http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/tutorial-submission-283/tutorial-contest-sc2-beta-keys-166616/#post1576387).
05-11-2010, 08:16 AM
TUTORIAL SUBMISSION TO CONTEST WIP...
General Mapping Techniques and Game Design
-What Games Need
Terrain is major part of the RTS Genre as it is the battle field. As much as we want action we need strategy, and terrain is useful for this role. A nice balanced battle field can make game lots of fun.
Although can a balance battle field is good but when the players look at the terrain they also want to see nice terrain not spammed doodads. I have don'ts and do's:
Spam grass doodads everywhere, It looks ugly and can well it isn't 'realistic'
Restrict the playing field; restricting the playing field can turn the favor of a game.
Mix random doodads together, I mean if we mixed magical runes with skulls what’s it going to look like?
Make things even, an even battle field is good looking and well shows skill.
Levitate objects, levitating objects and then putting another under it can make a beautiful
but remember to make sure the bottom is bigger than the top.
What Games Need
I am going to tell you what all games need and some specific needs for game types.
You need to the player what game type it is otherwise they might think it is a TD when its an RPG...
All Games need:
-A bit of Comedy, I mean who doesn't like a laugh?
-Fun terrain, as I already said.
-Reputation, a map needs to have a reputation otherwise people won't download it! If it does have a reputation people will say:
Oh I’ve that’s pretty good maybe I should play it.
Tower Defenses Need:
-Easy simple Terrain, look at most TD's not advanced terrain because they aren’t advanced maps.
-Difficulty Selection, some players varied skills.
-Race Selection, choosing a race is more fun than everybody being the same.
-Decent Amount of Heroes, just imagine all wizards who will stop the monsters from butchering them?
-Lots of Items, Every RPG should have custom items it adds another layer to the map
-A Quest System, who doesn't like side tracking and getting stuff
-Even lines, usually in an AoS you have lanes, all the lanes have to be even for both teams...
-Creeps, even though creeps aren’t a big part of the games they can be a good source for money if a player on the other team is fed.
-Lots of Heroes, if there weren’t lots of heroes it will be possibly up to who's been the most fed.
-Different Spells, Heroes should have different spells to one another otherwise you might as well all just be the same hero.
Balance is a key part of all games/maps, why fight a force that is overpowered when its just going to win. Balancing is a lot harder than it sounds, its like trying to split 1 gram into almost exactly half, eg. 0.50001 g that’s not half...
Balancing What you will Require:
-Testers, they will help find those overpowered units and tell you what the problem is.
-Knowledge of your map/game, i usually keep a .xml file to list the stats of units, they are really helpful.
-Organization, if you keep a good organized workspace you can work a lot faster and easier than you would if you had a messy one.
Grammar and learning how to use it
Most games require grammar, also known as: The rules of Writing. When writing map descriptions, unit descriptions, abillity descriptions or just a bunch of text that you want your players to read and understand you just can't write: This OMGZ lolz spellz, it haz 100 damage and slowz the target. It looks ugly and doesn't really 'discribe' the spell.
-Spelling, it is important! As the reader needs to understand what you wrote, if you wrote a map description. Example: Welcum to the Land of Exidus, u have 2 kill enermys and level up. 1. It looks horrible and 2. Some people won't understand.
-Punctuation, is a big part of understanding and not understanding, you need to use punctuation for: Telling the start and the end of a sentence with a full stop(.), telling the user whether the character is speaking or yelling(!), or adding details(,). And don't forget these('), they can change a word.
-Learning. Learning to use Punctuation is not easy... As the rules are very complex. Spelling is like trial and error until you get it right (Well thats until you grab a dictionary). If you don't know how to write, read a tutorial!
05-11-2010, 06:12 PM
The Principles of Game/Level/Map Design
A Brief Tutorial
This tutorial will showcase three fundamental aspects of game design. You can apply these principles to 'nearly' any project in life. The aim is to give you a better understanding of the leg-work required before even starting your project. You must understand your project, communicate your idea effectively, and manage your time constructively. The tutorial is split into three length sub-sections, each devoted to the three principles I hope to tutor you in.
Getting the most out of this tutorial
I suggest you read the tutorial in it's entirety. I have kept the sections in [ hidden ] tags, so that you are not scared off by the length of it.
It shouldn't take you more than 5 to 10 minutes to read completely. So, go get a cup of tea, coffee or a glass of juice and get comfortable.
At the very least
Scroll to the bottom of this tutorial, and read the conclusion section. Everything mentioned above is summarised in there.
If something in the conclusion sparks your curiosity, scroll up and read a section in full.
So, without further ado! Here we go!
The Importance of Understanding (limitations)
You need to understand the project you are undertaking.
And by understand, I mean understand it completely.
You need to know what challenges you will face, and what you will struggle to achieve.
You should also devote time to thinking what goals you want this project to achieve.
I suggest opening up a new word document...
Or even better: grab a notepad & pencil.
Write down some key ideas, themes and functions of your map/idea.
Express your creativity fully; draw pictures, create diagrams, make mind-maps.
List a few criteria of your map.. is it a Tower Defence/RPG/AoS/Shooter or Real-Time-Strategy?
What are the key features of your map.. do you rely on cool-looking spells and effects? or an extensive research tree?
What will make your map unique.. write these down, and make sure that everyday you work on your map, you try to tick a box here.
You will find that, in the long run, you will have this notebook full of your sketches and ideas; and whenever you run into a problem, you can look back at this and draw inspiration from it.
The thrill and excitement of a new idea is quickly eroded by the harsh reality of terraining, coding scripts and creating units and abilities.
The Importance of Communication (teamwork)
You have a great idea, but no-one to share it with.
Your idea exists only in your head. There is nothing to show for it.
The more you work on your map, the further away from your idea it becomes.
You soon begin to lose focus and inspiration and give up on your map.
You should actively 'advertise' your project. Especially on these boards.
The more people who know about your project, the better.
A problem shared is a problem halved.
What goes around comes around. If you help someone, it is almost certain they will return the favour.
Create a game design document (brief version), no more than 1000 words.
Keep everything to do with the game there. Use bullet-points, lists, headings, keep it straight and to the point.
Communicate your idea to potential clients (people who play your map) and potential partners (people who might help you with your map).
If you are working as part of a team, or even managing a project, it will give you valuable experience which you can apply to almost anything later in life.
I find the most rewarding aspect of team-work, is being congratulated by someone, for achieving something remarkable.
There is no better reward than someone saying "Wow, that is really cool/impressive/fun" or "Nice work!"
A good practice is to use an email address (duh). I am mentioning this because I only started email relatively late (I was 16/17). I personally recommend gMail (by Google).
Check your email's daily. Advertise your email. Soon you will build your own little contacts list of people/friends who can help on your projects.
Then, if say, you need a modeller, you can just fire out an email to people you have contacted in the past or even worked with! And Voilá! :)
You might find that people start contacting you, and your network will grow and flourish. This is extremely KEY to successful game development.
Advertisement is everything.
The more people know about your game, then the more hype there will be.
The more hype, the more players, the more players, the more money you make. Simple economics really.
The Importance of Time Management (planning)
You dive straight into your project, and trip at the first hurdle.
You find you get very frustrated when something doesn't work as it 'should'.
You have a lot of projects on at the same time, and nothing seems to be making progress.
For every step forward you take, you seem to take three steps backwards.
Again, open up a word document (or notepad & pencil)
Right down a logical structure of your map development.
Start at the beginning, finish at the end.
1. Open WorldEdit - setup Forces/Player Properties
2. Change Map Description
3. Begin "Rough Terraining"
4. End of Day 1 - Play-Testing, check all terrain features look nice :)
1. Object Editor - Races - Create Naga.
2. Object Editor - Naga - Create 3 Tier 1 Towers
3. Object Editor - Naga - Create 2 Tier 2 Towers
4. End of Day 2 - Play-Testing, check all Naga Towers work properly :)
1. Object Editor - Waves - Create first 5 'Human' waves.
2. Object Editor - Races - Create Daemon.
3. Object Editor - Daemon - Create 3 Tier 1 Towers
4. Object Editor - Daemon - Create 2 Tier 2 Towers
5. End of Day 3 - Play-Testing, balance first five waves vs gold income vs tower damage per second
1. Terraining - Fine tune the terrain/doodads - make it look awesome!
2. Release Beta.
1. Iron out Glitches/Bugs/Exploits found in beta...
2. Balance Naga, they were way overpowered!
3. Daemon 'Infernal' Tower has wrong tool-tips...
Planning saves you time.
Later in life, when Time = Money. It will save you Time & Money.
Planning is your friend.
Imagine writing an essay, with no structure, no word limit, no question, no goal.
You will write a piece of rubbish.
So, really, there are three things I am stressing in this tutorial.
1. Understanding - know everything there is to know. Knowledge is power.
2. Communication - what you don't know, others will. Build a network.
3. Planning - make a plan, stick to it. It is rewarding to put a strike through your achievements.
Having read this tutorial, next time you have a great idea, you should:
Grab a sketch-pad and a pencil. Go WILD! Draw down EVERYTHING that you can think is relevant to this project.
Draw graphs, tables, pictures, concept art, flow-diagrams, mind-maps, spiders-webs, little doodles! ANYTHING
Once you have your idea on paper, this is next:
Build an 'online-presence' for your project. Create a new email address, advertise your project, recruit, make a dedicated website/blog.
Let your friends know what you're up to, ask for input, help idea's, feedback ANYTHING! Be sure to keep your website/blog updated with your progress!
Remember: The more people who know about what you're up to... The more click's you will get once you release it!
Once there is an online setup for your project, your last step before making your map is this:
Plan to do some planning. Plan everything that you will do related to this map.
Decide on how many hours a day/days a week you will devote to the project.
So. What has this all be leading to? Read this again. I'm being serious.
"The human brain only 'absorbs' 3% of what it see's on a written page."
That mean's, to know a book inside-out you have to read it more than 30 times.
When you make it to this point a second time - you will have absorbed 3% more.
Basically, you should create
1) A Design Scrap-Book. Covered in sketches, writings, drawings, plans, terrain maps EVERYTHING.
- This will capture all your creative essence, and when you are losing motivation - go look back over this scrap-book. I guarantee you will feel reinvigorated and want to continue working on your map or game.
2) An Online-Presence. Website, Blog, Email Address, forum posts. ADVERTISE your project. to BOTH clients & partners (map/game players + map/game developers)
- This builds you a future audience. When your scrapbook is not enough to motivate you, think about the people who will benefit from playing/enjoying your map or game. Say to yourself, I can do this. It will look good on a CV one day, if you can write 'developed: Elven Retribution - a popular Starcraft 2 modification'. Please note: if you are applying to work in any field other than computer/software design, don't use that :)!
3) A To-Do List / Schedule. Highlighting EVERTHING that your map/game will need to take it from 'a great idea' to 'an awesome/popular/fun map/game'.
- Planning. Planning. Planning. The most important thing ever. It is a scientifically proven fact, that crossing out things on a to-do list creates endorphins which stimulate your brains reward system. Why do you think so many 'online games' these days have an 'Achievement' system. People feel good about achieving things. Keep your to-do list pinned to your wall next to your Desktop PC. Have an aim of crossing off at least one or two things every day that you work on your project
I still have a sketchbook full of drawings, from early 2007... I was wanting to make a Tower-Defence map based around diseases and cells. So, tower's multiply, split, and join together to create new towers. The sketches are quite funny, but illustrate how effective they are at capturing the essence of an idea. Looking over it just now I sort of feel tempted to open up world editor (after I have made my to-do list, of course) and work on this :). You start off with a Bacteria tower, which you can 'split' into two Amoeba Towers which are weaker, as the Amoeba towers gain 'experience' - kill a unit, gain mana - they can either 'Merge' with a Bacteria for 20 mana, or 'Evolve' into a Bacteria for 10 mana. And basically, through splitting, experimenting, evolving and merging your towers, you can go from Bacteria, to Viruses, to Avian Flu, to SARS to Malginant Tumors! Everything I have just described to you came from one a3 page in an old sketch book I had. Complete with abilities and a research tree. :)
Well, that's it. Thank you for taking the time to read my very basic (and rather lengthy) tutorial on design and project management. I wish you the best of luck in your future projects!
General tips for Game Design
This tutorial offers a couple tips on what to avoid when designing a map. Not all of them are necessary for success, many examples I post here as bad solutions are from popular and succesful maps. On the other hand, popular does not necessarily equal good.
If you want your map to be memorable in some way, it must be original. No one is going to be interested in just another TD or AoS with different races/heroes. There has to be some original concept, that makes your map stand out. There are several ways to get to a original concept:
Starting with an daring idea and building the rest around it
Starting with a general idea and NOT limiting yourself to obvious solutions
Let's say you have some nice idea for RPG and start thinking of hero classes. The first idea would be creating a warrior(tank), rogue(dps) and priest(healer). Now that is a pretty bad idea, because everyone does this. There are limitless possibilities here: create all classes DPS-style and make the game about maneuvering and precisely used defensive abilities OR create interactive environment, which players can use for their advantage OR remove any HP regeneration, basically creating a one-use HP pool...
[Unsafe] Create a heavy modification of some general map genre. Just take one aspect of the game and reverse it totally, it can result in very interesting concepts
Let's take the very famous concept of tower defense and reverse it to tower offense. Players will, under constant attacks, expand their tower-controlled territory, until they reach demon portal/castle/spawning pit or whatever and shoot it with cannon towers.
Map name, nature and theme
Name: Choosing correct map name is very important, for it decides the overall attitude of your map. There are basically two possible "natures" of map names: rules-based (Custom Hero something) and plot-based (The last crusade). The nature of the name affects expectations of player, they expect the map to be the same nature, and this can ruin their entire impression of the map.
Nature: What I call "rules-based" map is ironically a game with relatively simple rules, around which the game revolves, like TD, Hero Defense or AoS. A "plot-based" has more complex rules, and the game revolves around the world, characters or story (mostly RPGs)
The difference is that the simplicity of rules allows developing strategies, and the game is more about winning than having fun playing it (not necessarily bad). The complex rules of plot-based maps don't allow that, as they are too complex to develop some clear strategies, so the players are forced to play more instinctively.
Theme: Another thing the maps name defines is the theme of the map. Be sure to fulfill the theme, it looks very unprofessional if the actual map doesn't fit to the name (although many professional games break this rule).A map called "The Unholy Prince: A taste for blood", which is a tower defense with vampire-style last boss.
Or a map called "Custom Hero survival", that is actually a stealth-base RPG (hence "survival"), that allows main character to learn a couple different abilities as he progresses the game.
Keep in mind that the game is not just a set of rules. It is a world, and player need to feel it, the game needs to feel "realistic". That doesn't mean you have to use physics engine for arrow flight or vehicle movement, but prevent things like a 6m tall creature with a 4m wide hammer hitting a warrior for 1/20 of his HP, while a rogue hits the creature 10 times a second with a dagger.
Keep rules and story apart
The game rules and the story are two different levels on which are both present in the game, but they should never melt. There is nothing worse than characters talking about "levels" or any character "numbers" at all. If you need to inform the player about some rules that apply for current story situation, do it separately, for example color the text in another color, or display it somehow differently than usual. Common mistakes include invisible walls (level-based areas), text commands for story decisions (ideally those should be used only for UI settings),...
Since the game mechanics are always a simplification of reality, there is a high chance players will find a hole in the mechanics and abuse it. Then you have three ways to solve it: either ignore it and hope that not many players will find the bug and those who do won't use it in an attempt to keep the game fair (some most certainly won't, BUT those will be adressed as cheaters), OR put in some control mechanism (if you are able to create a simple, working solution) OR present it as legal, efficient strategy (put it in hints, create some statistic about it, so that it looks as a intended part of the game)
Denying in DotA - it is basically kill-stealing your opponents kills, which is generally considered cheating, as use abuse the killing-blow-reward mechanic. However, in DotA, there is a statistic for it, a little "!" that comes out when you deny a creep and a global anouncement for denying towers. That effectivelly turned this cheat into regular, reguired technic.
Rescue strike in Castle fight - In this type of game, amassing a huge army is a inevitable and propably game-ruining event. Putting in an ability that kills all units in area seems like a desperate solution. However, the addition of global announcement and end-round statistic for best use of Rescue strike turns it into a key strategic feature.Houserules - when player need to invent houserules for the game to make it playable (like banning some heroes), it is a sign that something is seriously wrong. Don't ever let that happen.
05-15-2010, 03:27 AM
A Simple Overview of the steps to Making a successful Map
As we all know Warcraft 3 has one of the most customizable editors for RTS games ever and has opened up tons of different game types for developers everywhere. With the upcoming release of starcraft 2 a lot of editors or people interested in editing are already thinking about maps and coming up with (Hopefully) Fresh ideas. In fact Blizzard has prepared for the hundreds of budding editors hoping to make something as popular as Dota by introducing micro payments. That’s right REAL MONEY. So not only do we have the chance of making something famous, but may make a fair bit of money out of it.
So how do we go about this?
1) Don’t Rush!!!!
I picked up the Warcraft 3 editor when I was about 12, after going through the stages of making 1000 units fight against each other I started getting interested in making a real map. Unfortunately having the concentration span of, well, a 12 year old this never happened.
It’s important to lay out your ideas, Make a Plan, Draw out the map and make sure you have thought of 90% of the map before you start. Remember if you aim on creating a large project you’re going to need a team if you expect to finish it this year.
Make sure that you set yourself realistic goals, if you don’t know JASS script then your limited in things like spells etc. For some hero abilities or cut scenes etc make sure you know what you’re going to have to do, outline triggers you’re going to need to use. If part of a team present your idea to the triggerer and he/she will probably know what to do.
2) Keep it Fresh and Original
So the idea you have, perhaps you want to make a Hero Siege? Well what are you going to have in your map that is going to make me want to play this map instead of another hero siege? AWESOMEUBERNESSSPELLS you say? Well then they better be impressive. The Great thing about the online community of map makers is there are so many of us now. The bad thing is there are so many of us now so it’s pretty hard to stand out.
Remember that your idea needs to be original or have many aspects of originality. If you just copy a tower defence that you’ve seen before and instead change all the towers to Marines, well then, it’s not exactly going to get you noticed is it? (if someone does get famous off making a terrible remake of winter maul with Marines then I was wrong, but until then it stands!)
3) So you’ve got your idea what now?
Now comes the challenging bit, making the map (Big surprise huh). So you may or may not have your team of map makers and you should have a good fresh idea, just remember with star craft 2 there’s going to be a big call for custom maps when its released so get stuck in, remakes of classics will probably be good for a while, but try to change things up.
So I always like to do the boring bits first, this involves Unit Editing, but it’s up to you. Just remember its quiet hard to trigger when your terrain isn’t finished. This is the key stage of the map making in my opinion, it’s very easy to get bored when nothing is anywhere near finishing. If you find you suck at keeping your attention on one project either
• Make smaller projects that are still fun to play
• Get a team that will all work together, reducing work load
• Make tons of half finished maps that never go anywhere (this was my personal choice for a long time, I don’t recommend it.)
• Just completely quit.(I wouldn't recommend this either)
4) Keep self evaluating.
So you're half way through a map? Maybe even got the finished product but before you go into Beta Testing look back at everything, does anything look nasty? Does anything look like it took you 30seconds to make? A basic list of things that you need to make sure you don’t do in your map -
- Poor Grammar:
If the main character in the game doesn’t say something correctly it annoys me and I think that’s true for many players (Please feel free to leave rage comments on how I have not spelt everything in this tutorial correctly)
- Stupid Graphics:
So you decided to make the projectile of a marine the nuke? Right. Yeah it’s an awesome prospect, “omg look at this marine shooting ******* Nukes!!!!!” but then after 10 minutes’ of the same stupid exploding sounds and animations stacked on top of each other I start to just find it annoying
- Doodad Repetition:
I’m not sure if game players mind this, but personally I don’t like the look of 500 copies of the 4 set variations of rock. Look out your window if you have one near you. (If not go ....well I’m sure I’ll still get this point across...) There isn’t repetition, make things look natural. This becomes less important in some game modes like Tower Defences. But it’s still a plus to have regardless
Now this list isn’t to say you can’t have a highly successful map with these things, I’m just saying that it’s nice to avoid them.
5) Don’t Give up.
There are going to be moments while making your map that you just can’t be bothered, if it’s a self project it’s very easy to just leave it and start a new idea that seems much better then the one you have now. I would strongly advise against that. Finish what you started, if you need a break then stop map building for a while, perhaps make a small mini game within your map, or make some stupid Easter eggs. Whatever you do don’t start a new project.
Congratulations you made it to Beta (well you haven’t really you’ve just read 2 pages of text, making a map is slightly more challenging then that I’m afraid) During this time either find some friends to play your map, or find Beta testers online. Keep in your head that you are not done! It is not finished yet! If you release a game that is horribly imbalanced it is not likely to get far, Beta is just another step in the map making process.
7) ITS FINALLY OVER!
The map is finished. All your hard work has come to fruition and now it’s time to put it out there for the world. Remember to upload it to websites that host a large selection of custom maps such as www.hiveworkshop.com (a mighty fine website indeed). Also try and host it online or find some friends willing to do it for you, although the likelihood is you’re going to want to play the game you just spent all this time to make.
So there we have it, The Basic steps it takes to create a map. If you are completely new to the entire map making scene its nice to mess around with editors before starting anything serious, look up other specific tutorials on things like Modelling Terraining and Scripting.
Now go, go and make high quality maps so that I and all the RTS players who suck at melee maps have something to play on the weekends!!
05-15-2010, 03:57 AM
Basis of a Good MMORPG
All RPG's begin with character roles. One of the most important components of an MMORPG is balanced and well formed character roles.
It is vital that a character has a role in the party, or otherwise can fend for itself suitably well. These roles are generally divided into 3 sections: Defensive, Offensive, and Supportive.
The Defensive roles are your run-of-the-mill tanks. They can take damage well and guard their team. It is important to remember, though, that a Defensive character must be a threat to the enemy. A character who can take high damage but dishes out low will be less likely targeted than a character who can't take as much but deals much more.
Balancing here is crucial - you must figure out how to create a tank able to deal enough damage to be a threat, but not enough to simply outmatch his allies.
A Defensive Character should have:
Skills that attract attention, i.e. Provoke
Moderate Damage to pose a threat
Offensive Skills that, though less than a Offensive Character's, should be able to deal out moderate damage at a reasonably fast pace
The Offensive Roles are your mages, archers, and berserkers. They are the ones that can truly obliterate the enemy. Their damage output, however, should not be extremely high so that they do not draw attacks from the tanks. Here, Damage over time has greater precedence than direct damage.
An Offensive Character should have:
Moderate to Low Health
Moderate to Low Armor
Offensive Skills that cast instantly, but take some time to charge
Offensive Skills capable of inflicting ailments that can cripple an enemy
Offensive Skills capable of doing more damage over time rather than in an instant
Moderate to High Damage
The Supportive Roles are generally the most vital. This contains your healers and buffers. The Supportive Characters should be capable of sustaining the party for quite some time. Because of this, however, the Supportive Characters are the primary targets in any party. To counter this, the Supportive Characters should be capable of fleeing, slowing enemies to allow for the other Characters to kill it, and skills cast for a short period of protection.
A Supportive Character should have:
Low to Moderate Health
Low to Moderate Defense
Protective Skills to shield allies
Protective Skills to defend oneself for a short duration
Low Damage to not draw attention
Ranged attacks for weaker Supportive
Buffs that increase the threat of the allies to more than the Supportive
Gameplay is the core of an MMORPG. A boring gameplay will cause your game to be a failure. An overly dynamic gameplay will cause impatience and increased difficulty to play. It is best to find a median between the two extremes.
A good MMORPG Gameplay consists of:
Gameplay spreading across multiple planes, such as incorporating skills, attack, chance, terrain, party, and other variables that makes each battle unique.
Non-linear gameplay. Dont' have a character that can only have certain skills. Characters should be able to be customized.
Incorporate raw ability into the gameplay. Give the players a chance to use reaction time, planning, and micromanagement while playing the game.
Do not make the game a hack and slash. Though some like this concept since it gives a more hands on gaming experience, it also gets boring hitting the same key over and over. The generic "click and the enemy becomes targeted" is usually the best compromise.
Multiple ranges of Gameplay. Make frontline fighting as interesting as supportive casting and long range battles.
Don't create a mass of Characters. Usually, five to eight characters are good enough. Be sure to have multiple spells for each class to choose from.
Something to please all gamers. A PvP area with rewards, hunts for mighty treasures, and instances for epic bosses and loot will please the masses. An achievement system with titles can please the elites.
Customization. Give players choices between skills. Characters with set skills usually means similar gameplay. Characters with multiple skill combinations to choose from meana more complex and varying gameplay.
Synergy. Don't have a single hero be able to solo the game. Make each character be semi-dependent on allies, or increase in power several times with allies.
Make the speed of the game level. Fast training means easily bored. Slow training means easily bored. Try giving the players a chance to level quickly through story missions that give good reward. Side missions/quests can give moderate experience and items/skills. Grinding gives low experience but have a chance for rare drops.
Story is usually the most overlooked aspect in any MMORPG. Generally, game creators focus on gameplay rather than story. Story is essential because without it, a game would have no logical backbone. Gameplay draws the crowd to the game, but gameplay and story are what keeps them playing.
Some general guidelines to a good story are:
Originality. Don't have a hero that came on a powerful artifact and becomes destined for greatness. This has been used countless times. Use ideas of your own making - let your imagination run wild. The story about the goblin who was betrayed by his clan and vows vengeance you had a while back? Use it!
Don't fall into the major sinkhole - all action but no intrigue and depth. Action is for comics, made to finish quickly. A game that's made to last should have storyline elements meant to evolve.
Don't be afraid to kill off major characters! Time and time again stories have major characters that last to the end. Let one die every once and a while!
Model characters after those you have seen or existed in real life. The perfect king who reigned peacefully but mightily then died hardly exists. The king who had to combat intrigue, had affairs, and had his own bouts of evil is much more interesting.
Get the players to form a relationship with the characters. Make the character personalities multi-dimensional so that players will want to learn what happens next.
Not all characters have to be central to the plot. A peasant boy named Rob can be just as dynamic as a king name Xavier, if you can make him right.
Abilities are what make a character. They determine the character niche more than the actual stats of the character. Unfortunately, abilities are also overmade and overcomplex, and doesn't fit to the hero that well.
A good Ability set should:
Make sense. Don't have a ranger use a melee skill, and don't give a thief a heal all skill.
Be multi-purposeful. An attack that deals huge damage and huge damage alone is less useful than a skill capable of dealing damage, interrupting, drawing aggression, and/or debuff the target.
Be complex in usage, not in aesthetics. A spell that has awesome looking effects but a pretty straightforward purpose is less effective than a projectile that homes on a target and causes damage to any nearby enemy.
Remember to balance skills not only to enemies, but to other heroes. Often times skills are designed in mind of a PvE environment, with a PvP area introduced later. Skills in PvE should still be balanced in PvP, where you're going against opponents with skills that should be equal to yours.
Be original and creative! Skill making is only tedious when you copy skills from others. Thinking of skills of your own can sometimes be fun!
Aesthetics give free reign to your creativity. This includes terrain, landscape, models, spell effects, and a whole myriad of others. This requires reason, creativity, and patience. There are no limits to aesthetics as long as you follow simple guidelines:
Be reasonable. Research basic geography and climates and see how plains turn into forests into mountain into jungles into oceans.
Be nonlinear. A forest with a single path able to be followed? That hardly makes sense, and can provide for some simple gameplay. A forest where you can wander off into more perilous zones is more realistic.
Don't stick polar bears into forests. There is no excuse. Don't stick random things into random areas!
Select models that seem fit for your game. If you can't find a model, improvise. People may criticize having a zealot in a medieval RPG, but the game is still in its beta.
Pick suiting music. Tranquil melodies for a glade, fanfare for cities, and tribal music for a sacrificial mountain.
Allow some space for breathtaking views. Not every inch of the game has to be playable and serves a purpose. Stick in a beautiful ocean vista or a breathtaking mountaintop view somewhere.
Don't tint. Tinting is generally never a good idea except for shadow tints. Lighting can do the rest.
Know your Grammar and Spelling. A game with goodplay and story will be ruined by double negatives and improper subject-verb agreement.
Does all this sound overwhelming? Well, good! It's supposed to be overwhelming for one person. That's why you get a team to help you make your game! Get a couple of people you know do high quality work, get contact information on them, and assign positions and jobs. Make sure you balance the team accordingly. A team with five triggerers and one terrainer makes for a crappy game. Try to have at least three in every field while making an RPG.
That's right. I put a section here in about Credits. For every resource, advice, and help you recieve in your game, make sure you right down the person's name. You should always give credit where credit is due. Always copy down the name of the person. A nice thank you and a reputation point doesn't hurt either!
05-15-2010, 09:43 AM
How to make people play your Rpg games longer
You ever wondered why games like World of Warcraft are played by millions of players nearly the whole day although they are mostly not having fun while playing it?
You want that your Rpg will be as addicting as WoW is?
Then follow this few Steps
So why you think WoW players don't buy themselves any new clothes or spend their money on jewelry instead of investing it into Game Cards to play hours and then at the end getting some New Armor?
Just think a bit: Jewelry and New Clothes look pretty, but the new Armor does, too + It protects you from all the Monsters in the Game.
Now just making the item hunt addicting:
Why you think people in casino's play over and over even if they don't win?
Yes, cause the next round could be a winning one.
So: Make the items drop really rare and let the flood of bosses/monsters never end so people can go farming forever until they get their item.
So: Add many items into the game, give them some cool looking model and make them hard to achieve so people actually think they just got something really valuable.
When people want a T10 Armor in World of Warcraft they have to go farming for hours to get their items for the quest, just to get the next quest that involves hours of farming, too.
And why you think people do it?
Yes cause the T10 Armor looks pretty, like explained in Step 1 but here is a really unfair Thing you could/should do to the players:
Make Set items of which the players get every item but 1 and then make the bonus you get for having all items much much bigger then having only the other common items.
So for Example:
We have a Barbarian Set consisting of:
-A Barbarian Sword with +5 Damage
-A Barbarian Helm with +2 Armor
-And a Barbarian Leatherarmor with +3 Armor
And now the Trick:
Make the Sword and the Helm drop with a really high chance + Make a note in the Tooltips of the Items that if you have all 3 you get +20 damage ( a really high bonus)
And now: Make the Leatherarmor drop with a chance of under 1% =
People are farming for hours just to get that armor, cause they know they have 2/3 of the Set already= " Why should i stop collecting it, if i can be awesome with just that 1 tiny item"
You have to 'feed' the player's mind with making progress all the time so:
Make the lvling on beginning totally fast, add a really cool looking Level Up Effect (Wouldn't you learn more for school if you would get a Yellow Light Spire around you everytime you learnt a new vocabulary?)
Now the Evil Part that makes players play it more: Make the Lvling slower the higher the lvl of them is-> People got the Taste of Lvling Up and getting New Skills and Stat boni -> Now they think, ok Just get the next level just 10 more minutes farming to get a new skill
and give the players reputation for everything:
-You just killed 5 Kobolds! +20 EXP
-You just discovered a new City! +30 EXP
-You just found an item you never saw before! + 40 EXP (that one is totally unfair cause people will want to see every item in the game (and cause the new Saveload System in SC2 you can make such a Reputation System totally easy without having the Player to write down 20 more digits of code)
-You just healed your ally and saved his life! +50 EXp
And don't give them only Experience, but Make a little system like: For 10 reputational Things you unlock you get some small passive bonus to your Stats -> So People on high lvls still want to find all.
Got it? give them reputation for EVERYTHING! they do -> People want to discover everything they can do in the game -> They play it longer
05-24-2010, 01:57 AM
POLISHING YOUR GAME (WIP)
There are essentially three phases of the design process. The first is general concept creation. This is essentially when you get together with your team and come up with the basic ideas that will fuel your game. The second phase is implementation. This is when you gather any resources you need and put them all together to form your game. The third phase, is game polish. This is simply when you go back through everything you've done and you make it better. This includes fixing errors, increasing playability, maximizing player experience, improving visuals, and overall making your game look more professional.
In this tutorial I will cover many different aspects of the polishing process. Much of what I will go over applies to any game, but this tutorial will nevertheless focus on Warcraft and Starcraft mods. Many people put their games out before they are ready. It is important to remember that polishing your game is an important part of the design process. Gamers do not want to play games that have spelling errors, are un-organized, or just in general look like they were put together by an 11-year old bashing on his keyboard.
Every game uses some form of icons (yes even shooters). When dealing with icons you should attempt to follow three essential rules.
1. Attempt to limit the number of imported icons used in order to reduce filesize (especially if your map is a multiplayer map that is intended to be played over a network). Instead, use icons already available in-game as much as possible.
2. Ensure that all of your icons have their necessary counter-parts. This means both including a disabled version of your icon types as well as including different icon types for certain instances (i.e. having a passive icon for a passive ability). Do NOT use normal BTN icons for passive abilities - it looks horrible.
For those who are unaware of how to import different icon types or the necessary disabled counter-parts to certain icon-types, here is an excellent tutorial that may help you:
3. Ensure that your icons go well together. While this doesn't necessarily mean that your icons have to be the same color or be of the same thing, it does mean that you should use icons with the same art style. Do NOT have realistic icons in the same toolbar as cartoonish icons (really they shouldn't even be in the same game). It is also a good idea to make sure your icons fit the unit. Don't have magical icons for machina units or vise versa.
Tooltips are a vital and noticable part of any game. Having short un-informative tooltips is one of the worst mistakes a designer can make and can often ruin the experience for a player. When writing tooltips, always ask yourself, "what information would I want to know?" and then include that data. Do NOT write ridiculously short/long tooltips or write tooltips that only include descriptions without any numerical data. Aside from that, the only rule with tooltips would be to make them as easy to read and user-friendly as possible.
There are three notable tooltip types in Warcraft and Starcraft:
UNITS - This would be the only exception to the "do not write ridiculously long tooltips" rule. Players want to know as much about the unit they are purchasing or hero they are choosing as possible before they make a choice. It is a rule of thumb to include any information that changes from unit to unit and has an impact on gameplay in the tooltip (i.e. health, mana, abilities, attack speed, attack range, etc.). Most players also like to have descriptions of the units/heroes they are purchasing (after all Warcraft and Starcraft ARE partially role-playing games).
ABILITIES - Again, I am stressing the technique of asking yourself "what would I want to know in this tooltip?". For abilities, players generally want to know things such as mana cost, damage, duration, and cooldown. Not including proper information in an ability tooltip can really unnerve a player. It annoys the hell out of me when I don't know how much an ability will cost in mana until AFTER I have learned it. Try and keep ability descriptions short (if you must include them at all) and ensure that your ability tooltips contain as much numerical information about the ability as possible.
ITEMS - Item tooltips are very simple. DO include any numerical information needed (do not just say "increases attack speed", instead say "increased attack speed by 15%"). DO NOT include long descriptions or really unnecessary information in general.
HOTKEYS - On a final note regarding tooltips, you NEED to include hotkeys for abilities or anything else player will be using in-game (in a shooter this might be switching weapons while in a game like Warcraft this might be purchasing units or items). Regarding hotkeys in general, you should abide by these guidelines:
- Avoid using M/S/H/O/P as hotkeys in Warcraft 3 as they are used by basic Warcraft 3 unit functions.
- Make sure the hotkey you have written in the tooltip is the one you applied to the ability (you should run through your abilities to make sure all of them correspond with what you wrote in the tooltip).
- Regarding ability tooltips, try to make it so all the hotkeys of a units abilities are located near eachother on the keyboard (don't have one ability use "Q" and another use "L" - it's just difficult and frustrating for the player).
- Regarding ability tooltips, try to focus on the left side of the keyboard as most players are right handed.
- Highlight the hotkey in your tooltip (the basic yellow is fine but I would reccomend green or red as they stand out more).
- Keep the hotkey outside of the actual name of the ability. Even though this isn't how WC3 does it, it does make it easier to see for the player and makes it look much more professional.
Although not necessary at all, it is always a good idea to edit the unit information section of the user interface. Not only does this set your map apart from basic WC3 maps AND make it more visually appealing to the player, but it just makes it look more proffesional in general. Simple editable aspects of the unit-information section of the UI include:
- Names of attributes, armor, and damage
I'm not entirely sure of what this is called in Starcraft 2, but i'm sure it has something similar. It is just silly to leave this blank or fill it up with useless crap. You can easily use this menu to do the following things (and more):
- Write a guide that describes how to play your game
- Include a list of the different modes/waves
- Include contact information
- Keep a record of past versions
If you are going to edit this menu (and you damn well should), please make sure you do the following:
- Change the strings of the "required" and "optional" quest fields
- Change the string of the title "quests" field
- Modify the string of the "quest log" button
If you are not creating a simple melee map then you need to edit or change the following fields (as needed):
- Time of day
- Gold tooltip and icon
- Lumber tooltip and icon
- Food tooltip and icon
- Upkeep tooltip and icon
You must edit these. Nothing makes you look more unproffesional than when you create a highly popular AoS-style map that's played by millions of people worlwide and you forget to change the gold tooltip to something other then "gold is obtained from gold mines" (..cough..cough..). Below is an example of properly edited data fields.
Creating a short but useful description for your game IS important. Whether it be in a map selection screen in Warcraft or on the back of a console case, every game has a short description. When writing yours try and follow these guidelines:
- Include the author's name(s)
- Include a site url or name of a community for updates/matches
- Include a SHORT passage about what the game is (WW2 shooter or Warcraft 3 AoS?)
- Include things to grab the player's attention (i.e. "over 43 weapons available" or "choose from 96 unique heroes)
- Include any other pertinent information
- Keep it short
- Color code (keep it organized! highlight important information/links)
ALWAYS include the version number in your map title. Modders/Designers will generally stick to 3 sigs for their version number (i.e. V2.34). DO NOT go past 3 sigs and do not jump ahead multiple decimal places in one patch.
I cannot think of a type of game that would not benefit from having a scoreboard/progress board of some sort. Players want to know how they are doing and where they are relative to other players. If you have built your game and are ready to put it out but do not have a scoreboard built in, I would HIGHLY reccomend you implement one. If you already have one, then you should read through this list to make sure players will get the best experience out of it:
- Include specific player information
- Include any necessary game information
- Include anything you would want to know if you were playing
- Make your multiboard as small as possible w/o cutting out necessary data fields
- Color code fields and include player colors
- Include a game timer
- Make your multiboard fill most of the screen
- Leave empty player slots
- Make it difficult, confusing, or hard to read
Including a proper ending is an important part of the game design process. Simply b/c the game is over doesn't mean you shouldn't end it professionally. A proper ending differs from game to game (story-based shooters will obviously end differently then an AoS), however most games benefit from having either a menu that allows a player to exit manually or a statistic board that shows end-player scores and game stats.
Loading Screens in any game really cut both ways. On the one hand they are pretty to look at and make your map look professional if done right. On the other hand they do not effect gameplay in any way and can take up a large amount of space. In Warcraft and Starcraft there is an easy solution - use one of the basic loading screens already available in the editor. Ofcourse even then your map won't look quite as professional without its own custom loading screen. In the end, it is really up to you which way you want to go - but regardless you should always make sure your loading screen looks nice, all the text included in it is correct in spelling and grammar, and it is organized and proper-looking.
If you're not sure how to import a custom loading screen this tutorial will help you:
Most games have some sort of preview from the cover of console game cases to the selection screen on X-box live to the map list in Warcraft 3. The pros and cons are really the same as above. You don't NEED a preview but it really makes your map look much more professional if you do have one (I would reccomend using one). If you do choose to include a preview be sure to follow these tips:
- Include the name of your game in large text
- Do not steal previews of other games
- Give credit to the artist who drew/painted it
- Include the version number on the preview itself
If your not sure how to import a custom map preview then this may help you:
- Download Irfanview (located here: http://www.irfanview.com/)
- Open your image with Irfanview
- Resize your image to 128/128, 256/256, or 512/512
- Save your image as .tga
- Import your image to Warcraft 3 using the import manager
- Change the path of your image to War3mappreview.tga
Many designers overlook this and it is a shame. Environment design/terraining are vital parts of the design process. Yes your game can look like crap and still be both popular and fun to play, but there is not a single game out there that wouldn't strongly benefit from having better terrain. If you are not a terrainer I would highly reccomend getting a professional or hobbyist to do it for you (there are tons on the Hive). If you for some reason decide to tack it yourself, please abide by these rules of thumb:
- Use alot of no-collision doodads (i.e. shrubs, flowers, and mushrooms)
- Manipulate destructibles and doodads to better support the environment
- Use lightning, weather, and sky-displays to compliment your environment
- Use a variety of terrain-tiles
- Consider impact on gameplay when placing objects with collision
- Use custom effects
- Use blizzard cliffs unless you know what your doing
- Put things together that don't go together (technology and fantasy)
- Spam basic blizzard tree models
- Use the blizzard rock model variations that have small 2-d rocks all over the place (just looks so unbelievably horrible I cannot stress this enough)
There are two important rules to abide by regarding abilities:
1. Try and avoid basic object-editor un-coded abilities. There is nothing wrong with these spells, its simply that players are so used to them being in EVERY freaking game that they want something new and different. Come up with ideas for unique spells that YOU would want to have available if you were playing the game and then create them. Other options would be to come up with the idea and then get a GUI-guy or programmer to write the abilities for you or simply scroll through the Hives spell-section and get ideas from there.
2. Make your spells look good. This DOES NOT mean spam effects, but rather use the effects you do have to the best advantage of the spell. There are many unique ways you can manipulate special effects to completely change their effects. Scaling up or down an effects (to do this in Warcraft or Starcraft just apply it to a dummy unit) can completely change the appearance of the effect and ergo impact player experience. There are plenty of excellent effect models available online (i.e. here at the Hive) that can make your game visually beautiful if implemented correctly.
File size is very pertinent to playability. People do not want to download (for example) a Warcraft 3 map that is 8 mgs large. Your primary concern, however, should be with having a filesize that is low enough to be played on B-net and other popular gaming networks that support WC3/Starcraft such as Ghost or Garena. There are several ways you can reduce filesize without impacting gameplay:
1. Protect and/or optimize your game using an optimizer (I reccomend Verxorian's):
This can knock a very large percentage of your file size off (my average is about 15-20%).
2. Remove all unit portraits as they largely contribute to the end-product file size and are entirely unnecessary (though nice to have). Deleting these will not impact gameplay in any way.
3. Instead of using a custom loading screen, use one of those available in the editor (pertaining to Blizzard's World and Galaxy Editors)
4. Reduce the quality of your imported 2d images using an image edited/conversion program such as the Warcraft 3 Viewer:
5. Reduce the number of imported models/skins used in your map
6. Comb through your imports and see which ones are the largest. Then look for alternatives to those specific imports.
There are countless ways to reduce lag in your game. I am just going to go over two very simple coding fixes that you can implement to reduce lag.
1. Optimize periodic systems. There is really no reason to run something every .01 seconds. Even if you are attempting to create the appearance of movement, players will not notice a different if you decrease the rate to every .05 seconds.
2. Remove leaks. There are tons of excellent tutorials online about this, such as this one here regarding basic Blizzard GUI/Jass leaks:
When your done with your game, it is always a good idea to comb through your triggers/code and fix any leaks you may have missed. One leak in a really bad place can seriously slow down gameplay end-game.
Time - Every 0.01 seconds of game time
Unit Group - Pick every unit in (Units in (Playable map area)) and do (Actions)
Loop - Actions
Unit - Move (Picked unit) instantly to ((Position of (Picked unit)) offset by 1.00 towards 45.00 degrees)
Time - Every 0.05 seconds of game time
Set TempGroup = (Units in (Playable map area))
Unit Group - Pick every unit in (Units in (Playable map area)) and do (Actions)
Loop - Actions
Set TempPos = (Position of (Picked unit))
Set TempPos2 = (TempPos offset by 5.00 towards 45.00 degrees)
Unit - Move (Picked unit) instantly to TempPos2
Custom script: call RemoveLocation(udg_TempPos)
Custom script: call RemoveLocation(udg_TempPos2)
Custom script: call DestroyGroup(udg_TempGroup)
People want balanced games. Test your game multiple times before allowing people to download it. Get some friends together and test it on a LAN so you have experience with your game on multiplayer. It is also always a good idea to release a BETA so you can get feedback on balancing and perhaps get errors reports as well.
My essential message here, is continue to play and refine your game. Balance only comes through time and continual updates.
You should always color code any messages or text you use in games. However, if not anything else, you should AT LEAST include player colors. Just run this trigger in your Warcraft map and whenever you reference a player name it will be colored according to the player slot:
Time - Elapsed game time is 0.50 seconds
Set Player_Colors = |c008B7500
Set Player_Colors = |c000000FF
Set Player_Colors = |c0000FFFF
Set Player_Colors = |c009B30FF
Set Player_Colors = |c00FFFF00
Set Player_Colors = |c00FFA500
Set Player_Colors = |c0000868B
Set Player_Colors = |c00FF1493
Set Player_Colors = |c004F4F4F
Set Player_Colors = |c00436EEE
Set Player_Colors = |c00006400
Set Player_Colors = |c008B4513
For each (Integer A) from 1 to 12, do (Actions)
Loop - Actions
Player - Set name of (Player((Integer A))) to (Player_Colors[(Integer A)] + ((Name of (Player((Integer A)))) + |r))
As stated above this is a good idea as it deletes some useless code and such to decrease your filesize. Having said that you should ALWAYS have an unprotected version available to modders/designers in the gaming community. Don't be a snob about this; no one's trying to "steal" your game, people just want to have a look at how you did things. Cloudwolf's "Diablo 3 Warcraft" is one of the most popular Warcraft 3 mods to date and includes tons of innovative and brilliant ideas and he STILL gave an unprotected version out to the community. That's how we learn, and ask any moderator on this site and they will tell you that the #1 way they got to be as good as they are (aside from practice on their own part) is by looking at what other people did (and more importantly HOW they did it).
It is a good idea to comb through any sounds you may have used during development and make sure the sound you are using is correct, the placement of that sound is where it should be, that sound is being heard by the correct players, and the volume of the sound is where you want it.
In WC3 and Starcraft you should particularily watch out for two things:
1. The soundset of your units (alot of times people copy and pase units and change the model but forget to change the soundset along with the model).
2. The attack sound of your unit (only use this with melee units unless you've imported some custom sounds - make sure the attack sound fits the type of weapon (heavy bash with maces, light bash with staves/wooden weapons, slice with axes/swords).
In any game you should include credits for any resources you may have used in two places:
1. On a website or community page dedicated to your game (for most people reading this that would be your Hive map page).
2. In the game itself (for WC3 maps that would be in the quest tab).
- Organize your credits list according to resource and/or name
- Include ALL material resources used regardless of how minor
- Include names of people who significantly helped you on the project
- Comb through your credits list when your done and check for spelling errors
- Keep an ongoing list of resources you use during the game design
- Screw up or forget someone. People spend alot of time on the resources you use - the least you could do is take the time to write a clean and correct credits list.
- Wait until AFTER you've finished your game to look back on what you've used and who contributed (sure way to forget people, lose track of resources, and a general over-all time-waster)
Although not part of the game itself, the way you present your game to a community of gamers, modders, or other designers is important. People will not pay any attention to (much less actually play) a game with a 7-word one sentence description. Here are some general guidelines to go by when writing a proper game description for an upload site:
- Include the basic type of the game (AoS, CTF, Shooter, Arena, etc.)
- Include a description of what it is
- Include the story behind the game (if you have one)
- Include screenshots (better yet a gameplay video if you can)
- Use html code to hide most of your information in order to keep your game description clean
- Organize your description into sections and use html code to box it up and seperate it
- Color code your description (highlight section titles)
- Include credits
- Include a changelog (for patches)
- Check your description for spelling and grammar errors
- If your map is protected include a link to an unprotected version or offer to message an unprotected version to anyone who would like one (this IS an open-source community)
- Include paragraph after paragraph of un-organized text
- Include giant over-sized concept art that has nothing to do with the game itself
- Write a three-sentence description
- Include credits or changelogs that aren't hidden (unless they are VERY short)
- Include a list of 40 screenshots in a row that make up 95% of the height of the page (even if they are hidden)]
- Write in gigantic all-capped text
On a final note, I would like to say LISTEN TO FEEDBACK. Whether you like a reviewer or what he/she had to say, their feedback can help you make your game better. Take what you can from it and act on it. Be open to ideas even if you don't agree with them and don't discount a players entire review simply because you don't like one point he said.
BE PREPARED TO TAKE CRITICISM. This is part of game design and if you are going to make games or even just mods for Warcraft and Starcraft you need to get used to this.
The World Is Flat
05-24-2010, 03:39 AM
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