Jump to content

Fun and Games - challenge and the gamer


Recommended Posts

I reckon I've spent more time playing the Civ series than I have CMx1 and 2 combined...

But I've lost my interest in Civ now because the game no longer offers me a challenge when I play it.

Me too... though with Civ4 I suspect I've spent more time modding than playing.

I always quit (SP) Civ games once the game seemed to be won, and it puzzled me that so many people would continue. I finally realized, however, that they were treating Civ as much a toy as a game. It can be important to distinguish between the two modes: For a game the level of challenge is extremely important, but with a software toy you can easily have too much challenge.

I think some of the complaints about CMBN's difficulty come because, compared to most computer games, it doesn't have much value as a toy. It's far too realistic.

(BTW: What kept my interest up in Civ4 was a couple of mods. First the "Revolutions" mod, which added mechanics having to do with the stability and break-up of Civs, making the game far more dynamic and - so far as maintaining your own civ goes - challenging. Second, the FFH mod, which not only supplied hour after hour of time-consuming modding opportunities, but added scads of toy-ness to the game. I generally prefer a challenge, but running around with Ghastly Dragoons and Necromancers through the Haunted Lands while building Halls of the Covenant, Flesh Studios and the Dark Council while attempting to stop the Sheaim and allied worshipers of the Ashen Veil from starting Armageddon all adds a certain wizz-bang factor I find hard to resist.)

As a footnote, I'd like to add that if I want to sit back and relax and enjoy a game of CMBN against the computer player after a hard day at the office, I play a Quick Battle.

Yup. That's where you can get some toy-type play from CM. Or going into a scenario fully intending to just screw-around and reload if things go poorly. You can feel free to explore the system and/or make mistakes.

I generally prefer experimenting - or "playing" - with the AI, and getting challenge via PBEMs.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think what I don't like about games is if they require you to follow one specific plan, and where everything has to work out perfectly to win.

Say for example that you HAVE to take a specific part of the map in order to flank a bunker to knock out a machinegun. If you don't do it, it will be impossible to win the map. You won't have any other tools for this job than regular infantry. And you only have one guy with a bazooka - if he gets hit you will have to reload, as you won't be able to get close enough for hand grenades. (this just as an example, I know you could scavenge the bazooka..)

What I prefer is that it might be best to flank the machinegun, but if you don't realise it, or if you don't succeed, then you still have some chance to win the map, by smoke or by taking another route, but probably with higher casualties.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think what I don't like about games is if they require you to follow one specific plan, and where everything has to work out perfectly to win.

I believe I know what you mean. I don't mind some one-solution puzzle-ness to a war or strategy game, so long it's reasonable to expect someone to come up with the solution the first time they play, and (thinking of your bazooka guy) if the solution isn't too finicky.

If you need to figure it out via trial and error, or if the slightest error or bit of bad luck can turn things around, then I'd call it a more of a puzzle (a type of toy?) than a game.

No matter how many AFVs there are.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think what I don't like about games is if they require you to follow one specific plan, and where everything has to work out perfectly to win.

Say for example that you HAVE to take a specific part of the map in order to flank a bunker to knock out a machinegun. If you don't do it, it will be impossible to win the map. You won't have any other tools for this job than regular infantry. And you only have one guy with a bazooka - if he gets hit you will have to reload, as you won't be able to get close enough for hand grenades. (this just as an example, I know you could scavenge the bazooka..)

What I prefer is that it might be best to flank the machinegun, but if you don't realise it, or if you don't succeed, then you still have some chance to win the map, by smoke or by taking another route, but probably with higher casualties.

Good plans are always redundant - if your plan completely depends on one single shot finding its target, it is bad plan.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think what I don't like about games is if they require you to follow one specific plan, and where everything has to work out perfectly to win.

Okay, this would be an example of a trick. How can this be true if the mission has two or more AI plans? That perfect path to victory against AI plan 1 is useless against 2. This is why a good designer will use two or more different AI plans. There are very few missions in Montebourg or the Scottish Corridor that have one AI plan only and they're usually missions where the AI is the attacker. (Bloody Encounter, Crescendo of Doom and the Odon Bridges IIRC). My own preference is four AI plans and there are quite a few in both, and the OMG campaign that have four AI plans. This is the designer's counter to the perfect plan. Remember that I design missions that are played against an AI opponent almost exclusively and so good AI is very important to me. I can't start playtesting properly or honestly until there are at least two defensive AI plans in my mission. I've designed a LOT of missions to be played in this way and so I've evolved my own system of developing AI but since this is a topic for a future installment of the Scenario design tutorial I'll leave that alone here.

Personally, I try to design missions so that the player has many options open to him. I know my playtesters play my missions differently from me. In fact, allowing the player this level of freedom occasionally bites me in the ass (Licornets for example)

Link to post
Share on other sites
I always quit (SP) Civ games once the game seemed to be won, and it puzzled me that so many people would continue. I finally realized, however, that they were treating Civ as much a toy as a game. It can be important to distinguish between the two modes: For a game the level of challenge is extremely important, but with a software toy you can easily have too much challenge.

In Civ 3 and 4, I played right through to the end to get as high a score as I could manage in the Hall of Fame (My HoF ran to several pages in both of these games). But it was frequently boring going through the motions of winning an already-won game. This is a major problem with most single-player strategy games: reaching the point where you know that you have won the game and all that's left to do is just wipe out the hapless computer opponents.

Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, I've just returned from reading up posts on the boards of some other games I play and I am continually astonished at the exploits some people devise just to get an edge when playing the game against the AI opponent. I don't understand why anyone would play against the AI in this way as it is clearly cheating. It's akin to cheating when playing a game of chess against yourself. What would be the point in playing at all? I don't try to find exploits to beat the AI. I play the game as honestly as I can and hope that the game will do a good job of managing the details so that the outcome is believable and fair.

I hope that it's really clear by now that I don't do tricks or 'find the one and only path through the nightmare tactical maze' puzzles. I don't like them and I actively design to avoid them. Maybe others do but I don't.

Link to post
Share on other sites
By the way, I've just returned from reading up posts on the boards of some other games I play and I am continually astonished at the exploits some people devise just to get an edge when playing the game against the AI opponent.

Guilty as charged :D. It's good fun! I've been taking a break from CM and playing through, yet again, my all-time favorite game, the original Command & Conquer. One of my favorite things to do is build sandbags from my base all the way over to the enemy base and seal up the entrances with the bags. The AI is too dumb to destroy the sandbags, so all the units that the AI was going to send my way end up massing up inside their base. This makes juicy targets for napalm airstrikes and ion cannon blasts. A sadistic grin always creeps across my face every time those A-10s fly over, drop their little napalm bombs and the enemy troops pathetically scream en masse as they are incinerated. Other than keeping the enemy trapped in their base, those sandbags also have the added bonus of allowing you to build your structures inside their base. Always fun to build a barracks in there, crank out some engineers and start capturing their buildings. Gamey and exploity? You bet. Also a hella lot of fun!

As you can tell, I'm not a serious gamer by any means. Different people have different playstyles. Nothing wrong with that. You have your own personal playstyle, which you laid out in your OP, and you have every right to design toward your preferences. It's what you enjoy, and many others, myself included, enjoy. However, it's unaviodable that not everyone will share your preferences, and I think this is where some of the friction is coming into play. Don't sweat it; you won't be able to please everyone. Don't let the crits you receive get to you. Take from it what you can use and discard that which doesn't match up with the scope of what you're trying to accomplish. In short, just keep doing what you're doing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
By the way, I've just returned from reading up posts on the boards of some other games I play and I am continually astonished at the exploits some people devise just to get an edge when playing the game against the AI opponent. I don't understand why anyone would play against the AI in this way as it is clearly cheating. It's akin to cheating when playing a game of chess against yourself. What would be the point in playing at all? I don't try to find exploits to beat the AI. I play the game as honestly as I can and hope that the game will do a good job of managing the details so that the outcome is believable and fair.

I hope that it's really clear by now that I don't do tricks or 'find the one and only path through the nightmare tactical maze' puzzles. I don't like them and I actively design to avoid them. Maybe others do but I don't.

You sound scarilly exactly like me... I hate using exploits just to get a higher score in games. I want the game to be a challenge or else I get bored. I frequently impose restrictions on my self rather than let the AI cheat with extra bonuses. Some extra bonuses are OK but not extremes, that will just turn the game into cheesiness from the players side.

I have almost never finished games in the last two decades for the same reasons as you.

In my opinion in most games it is not always the AI that is the problem but game design. Take Civ as an example, there are no mechanics to stop any factions of steam-rolling once they get rolling. This is not realistic or else the world would be one country by now... ;)

I think the reasons for this are that most gamers are casual and playing something that don't allow you easy access to world domination don't tend to sell.

For me a game is about the journey, not the end screen....

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...