Friday, July 23, 2010

Current plans on dealing with game balance, with the first step being spelling it correctly...

(Potential bloggers out there, don't write new entries when you are tired or else you might blast everyone's RSS reader with blatant misspellings like my last post)

So as I mentioned, balancing roguelikes is hard since doing so involves balancing multiple variables (with a significant amount of randomness thrown in). In an effort to motivate myself into finishing this work, I'm writing up a quick post on my decisions and strategy.

The first variable I focused on was damage output. I decided on a "base" damage an average attack should do, 10d3. For those not initiated in the "d" notation, 10d3 refers to rolling 10 dice with three sides, and summing them all up. 10d3 produces a range of 10-30, with 20 being the center average.

I chose d3s since they produce a nice range with some variability but don't have extreme variability. 5d6, for example, produces a range of 6-30, which is somewhat close to 10d3's range. However the possible "burst" of a good roll means five times the low roll or twice the average for 5d6, compared to three times the low roll or 1.5 times the average in 10d3.

Once I had the damage set, I needed to guess how many hit points monsters and players should have. I started with a guess that the average combat should last five to six rounds, which with twenty points being the average round means 100-120 hit points. For the player, I split these up in health, stamina, and bonuses from the average set of equipment I'd guess one would have.

The next variable is the rate of growth as the game progresses. Magecrawl doesn't have "levels" per say, but I assign an internal level to monsters and items. Each "level" of monster and equipment is currently scheduled to increase in damage and/or stamina by about 25%. This doesn't exactly work, I realized as I wrote the previous paragraph, since the player receives a majority of their hp from their initial stamina and health. Increasing damage monsters do by 50% while increases the stamina bonus of equipment by 50% doesn't even out. Still more to hammer out apparently...

Now that I have some guesses of numbers, I coded them in and forced the map generator to produce only a single type of monster. I'm planning on playing a good number of games, tweaking the numbers so that I can "win" a decent percentage of the time but not always. Once I have that single pairing balanced, I'll continue with others until I have a good feel on the numbers that are fun....

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