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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
 
George Hayes

March 03, 2005, 05:36 AM

Well I been thinking about this a little and was wandering if anyone would be interested in an article on game balance areas people tend to miss or hose up seriously on.

Example: ranged weapons verses hand held weapons. Most games I seen forget to figure in the time it takes a person with a hand held weapon to cover the distance from point A to point B. They may want to consider the damage that the player with the ranged weapon can dish out over a given distance also.

Now ,if one is going for realism well this shouldn't be a factor then there is no such thing as balance the real world is unfair. One person always has an upper hand so in realistic play balance is a mute point. Brains and skill are the only aspect isn realist combant.

I tend to feel to many games attempt to reach a balance when one should not exist when the entire idea is competition and it's always going to boil down to who is better who has more time who is more dedicated and so forth.

However, when you attempt or need to balance a game which is not based on the players aspect but the characters aspect then well they need to look at a lot more an not just the obvious amount of damage per time frame.

George Hayes



I mean or if you like just post your rants on areas of games you played so others can see the problems you noticed or feel existed.

 
Rui Martins

March 03, 2005, 08:13 AM

Articles are always a good source of information, so if you are up to it and have the drive to do it, please do.

In terms of examples, of game balance, one that imediatly pops out is for example Halo in Multiplayer. It's very well implemented, but when playing Multiplayer there is a huge tendency for a lot of players to play in Fire-Burst-Crash mode, which completly brakes realism, and gameplay.

Most players play so that they can kill 3,4 or more players by jumping on a confusion, guns blazing, and then die. And the game is very permissible to this. However the game has some features to try help customize the game which could prevent this behaviour, like increasing the wait time to respawn after dying, depending on your death frequency.

However this doesn't always works as expected, since you may be dying, frequently, due to the Fire-Burst-Crash play of others, since you always spawn in a limited area that can be in control of a few crasher players.

The other problem is that no player likes to wait, and hence this feature isn't used as much as it should, to prevent this unfair play.

There are however other games, that make you value your life in game, like "Counter Strike".

Other things I notice in some games is defects in the usability of games, and Halo comes to mind again, because it fails in some simply things, like popping the user to the main screen when you leave a Multiplayer Game. It's a lot more probable to go for another game(server) than to want to go to the main Menu, besides the fact that it breaks the Menu Flow, since the last menu where you were was the Multiplayer Server Selection Menu.

However, not to look that I'm bashing the game, because I like it, they do some stuff very well, like the ambiance music and it's change according to situation, in the regular quest of the game.
They sure gave attention to some holywood movies features & tricks.

Another concern I'm currently exploring is the problems felt by players with color deficient vision, which can have a variable percentage of perception of color, like Protanopia (insensitivity to Red), Deuteranopia(insensitivity to green) and Tritanopia (insensitivity to blue).

 
Arne Rosenfeldt

March 03, 2005, 10:12 AM

>Another concern I'm currently exploring is the problems felt by players with...
...deficent ears,
who cannot hear other players steps and shots in 5.1 Surround Sound in Counter Strike

computer games are only for persons with deficient legs!
(as long as one doesn't need paddels for a heli sim)

OK, back to the main theme...

 
George Hayes

March 04, 2005, 12:17 AM

To post another look at it many times I feel that the developer is so involved in trying to balance the game they forget to take a step back and see what really should and should not be balanced.

A game based on realism death should have a penalty of some kind. It could be time sitting on the side line or a lower score or what ever as long as it effects or deters rampid dieing.

In real life weapons are not really balanced. In fact nothing in real life is balanced or fair mind you. The size of an army, the types of weapons, the strategy used and the peoples health, Logistics support and much more all can play factors in real life.

There are multiple factors to look at when trying to balance a game. One the type of game it is. Is the game an Role playing game, First Person Shooter or strategy or what ever else you can come up with or combination there of. Then is the game single player or multiplayer.

Balancing a single player game is much easier than ever balancing a multiplayer game. One person is always going to be a superior or better player than another and that can't be balanced. In that situation the weapons balancing will have little effect on the eventual outcome.

I'll have to add more later. Presently on luch and it's ending.

George Hayes

 
Tim Auld

March 04, 2005, 02:30 AM

Just wondering how much experience you have in balancing games. It's all very well to point out flaws in other people's games. Actually balancing a reasonably complex game so that it's fun and doesn't have serious loop holes or super weapons is harder than it seems. Your opinions are going to have limited value if you can't back it up with real world experience and examples.

Also, what appears to be a problem to the casual eye can be a compromise that if 'fixed' would have caused other more serious problems. There can be a cascade effect of game balancing that you can't predict without actually running it.

 
pauljan

March 04, 2005, 02:38 AM

George, let's pick on game in particular: counterstrike. Have you played it? Given your posts above, I wonder what your opinion is on the balance in counterstrike. Overbalanced?

 
Rui Martins

March 04, 2005, 05:38 AM

... One person is always going to be a superior or better player than another and that can't be balanced. In that situation the weapons balancing will have little effect on the eventual outcome.


Well, difference in skill will always exist, and that is what pushes people to improve, or practice more.

But there are ways to balance that in multiplayer, and it's not with difference in weapons, it's more on auto team building from the server part, which Halo already does. i.e. if the game is unbalanced (on team is dieing more than the other, then the next player joining will go to this team, making it more even and improving the Ego of the ones who are playing with less members and still winning, until it reverses, and then it's that team that gets the next player. It's a very good ideia.

However, there are ways to spoil the fun, since some player found out this mechanism, and in their selfish motivation just spawn an extra player (if they have another computer), to skew the balancing mechanism. NOt everyone could do this, but it can also be avoided, by monitoring a players inactivity, and kicking him out, after a warning, if he doesn't respond.

If you notice, players also have a better game experience when it's an even game, which unconsciously or consciously makes them to switch teams to balance the game. For most players at least.

If a player is so much better then the others he wont enjoy the game much, because he soon gets bored! However, if he playes against many, and the game evens out, all enjoy the game, the "super hero" and all the "vilans" trying to catch him 8). This is also good to improve on team tactics, making them work better together, since they have a common goal.

In this "Counter Strike" is a lot better since it included in the game an essencial feature for team play, audio communications. In Halo you can also use that, using external software, but others will have a disadvantage, besides being possible an "enemy" to be Listening to your comm channel, since you can change teams, without changing comm channel.

By integrating the audio comm, Counter Strike made it part of the game, while improving game play and balancing the conditions for everyone. However skill still makes a difference, which is intended to be part of the game play, in my view.

 
George Hayes

March 06, 2005, 11:58 PM

Never played CS.

Played UT..., Quake..., EQ, AO, SF, UO, and others..

Only experience direclty in game balance is the one I am working on myself.

Other wise the balacing I learned about was from industrial simulation to real life design. Basicaly creating a simulator then turning it into a real world system.

What does that give me well only a means to look at the simularities or associate simular formulas.

Example a convelyor system delivers goods, items from point a to point b. Some are a lot more complex than just that with round robin systems auto barcode detection, tilt tray systems and more. Well You can look at a weapon as a delivery system delivers damage to a particular target. Notice delivers from point A again to point B again. Then couple that with games on the market and seeing the complaints people have had in the past well... You can fairly easily see I'm not an expert but I may have some insite that is from a different perspective on the subject.

 
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