Thursday, April 17, 2014

Game Design: Creating a System Formula (Part IV)

In Part I, game designer Bud Leiser explains how to use the Fibonacci series in system design. In Part II, he shows the grind gap and how the amount of grind can quickly accelerate when using the Fibonacci series. In Part III, he discusses how to evaluate the curve based on design goals. In Part IV, he suggests how to progress from the general guideline to cover all other elements in the game.

Actually…I could see implementing this curve into a real RPG if: for the player to survive we would probably have to give lots of item drops and a low cost way of healing outside of combat. (Final Fantasy health potions anyone?).  We can also try to figure out what strategy the player will use to overcome this curve: What might happen is players grind longer at a given level to buy his armor and boots.
They might even skip weapon levels, instead of buying each one progressively they might save up money to buy 2 levels ahead, and then use that powerful sword in combat, if he has enough health to survive 1 combat he could use cheap healing outside of combat. In other words relying on that high level sword to get him through 1 combat and not worrying about keep up with armor until absolutely necessary. If we wanted to encourage this type of play we could set the monster damage levels at rates unlikely to kill a player in a single combat. Drop potions frequently and even give the player armor pieces as common rewards. Assuming he has free time out of combat to heal up to full without being attacked, this would be a completely valid RPG style.


You could create these cost progressions using “suits” (Armor, gauntlet, belt, boots, helmet, weapon). Then assign % of that to each piece. For example:

Suits Total Cost Weapons Sword Cost Armor Armor Cost Helmet Helmet Cost
A 50 20% 10 25% 13 10% 5
B 100 20% 20 25% 25 10% 10
C 150 20% 30 25% 38 10% 15
D 250 20% 50 25% 63 10% 25
E 400 20% 80 25% 100 10% 40
F 650 20% 130 25% 163 10% 65
G 1050 20% 210 25% 263 10% 105
H 1700 20% 340 25% 425 10% 170
I 2750 20% 550 25% 688 10% 275
J 4450 20% 890 25% 1113 10% 445
K 7200 20% 1440 25% 1800 10% 720
L 11650 20% 2330 25% 2913 10% 1165
M 18850 20% 3770 25% 4713 10% 1885
N 30500 20% 6100 25% 7625 10% 3050
O 49350 20% 9870 25% 12338 10% 4935
P 79850 20% 15970 25% 19963 10% 7985

With this we have a general idea of how much the player is making and how much things should cost.

The most important thing is we didn’t have to spend hours making these prices individually. 

We have at the very least a general guideline. And we once we have a guideline that works, that we understand, and that curves the way we want to (meaning the player progresses at a rate that we want them to, and slow down where we want them to). We can now add elements wherever we want. And feel free to Fudge the numbers, give the player a cool Fire Sword and increase the value 10%, or 5% or 500gp.

[This article originally appeared on Bud Leiser's personal blog.]

Bud Leiser beat Nintendo’s original Zelda when he was just 3 years old. Then went on to win money and prizes playing: D&D Miniatures, Dreamblade, Magic the Gathering and The Spoils. He’s just returned from Vietnam where he helped manage Wulven Studios as their Lead Game Designer. He was responsible for creating internal projects, game design documents and communicating with clients to help them succeed in the post-freemium app market.   


Post a Comment