Archive for January, 2011

January 31, 2011

The Female Tank Pt.I – Real life female tanks

In my last post, I decided on a problem statement for my League of Legends champion design;

How can I design a female tank which has an exciting item build, can intuitively lead a team and can kill without the incurring the wrath of their team-mates?

I’ve actually got some ideas already about the sorts of skills she will have, the details of which I will go through at a later date (although I can reveal it’s sort of stance related), however I have been really interested in coming up with the aesthetic of this champion.

Badass female warrior is kinda difficult to pull off. Badass women, in general, I find rarely believable in media. They’re always too sexy (the industry standard chainmail bikini) or they just look like they’re trying too hard, like Angelina Jolie as Tomb Raider. In fact, the only examples I can think of where it’s worked is Sigourney Weaver in Aliens and Laura Harris in Severance. If I can find a few clips somewhere, I’ll link them.

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Aliens - "Get away from her, you bitch!"

Severance

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Starting with the aesthetic is a completely different approach to what I did last time, for my DotA hero suggestion. I thought I’d do it in this order mainly because I had a bit of inspiration, but also because aesthetics are important in a game like League of Legends.

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January 28, 2011

LoL Tank Design – Problem Statement

I stated, last week, that I wanted to develop a fully fledged champion suggestion for League of Legends. After I collected my thoughts about tanking, I thought it would be best to really analyze the product of a ‘tank champion’, and use that analysis to help me start to put pen to paper.

I’ve been reading The Art of Game Design – A Book of Lenses by Jessie Schell, in order to get up to scratch with the real theory of game design. My self studies have all been very experiential, and I need to really hone my skills so that I can look at anything and understand the game mechanics at work. So far I’m about a third of the way through, and it’s been very interesting. Thoroughly recommended so far!

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The book highlights various perspectives from which you should look at your game, Schell calls these ‘lenses’. There are 100 lenses in the book. Some are very simple and quick, others are very detailed and will encourage you to spend a lot of time using them to assess your work. I’m sure I will be using many for this project.

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January 27, 2011

TGCVR – Results and Thoughts

The Great CityVille Race (click for details) concluded on Saturday evening, so what has it taught us?

Casual - Before

Casual - After

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Account A

Money: 9920 —> 29919 (19999)

Goods: 447 —>58 (This stat really doesn’t matter)

XP: 346 (Level 10) —> 1096 (Level 17) (750)

Expansions: 0 —> 1 (1)

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Hardcore - Before

Hardcore - After

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Account B

Money: 6476 —> 41296 (34820)

Goods: 715 —>91 (Seriously, it don’t mean nuthin’ blud)

XP: 344 (Level 10) —> 1215 (Level 17) (871)

Expansions: 0 —> 2 (2)

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Not very much really! While taking part in this experiment, I realized how flawed it was and that the Hardcore town was just snowballing. Overall, the Hardcore town did better because I invested my money more. Decorations did help a lot but, overall, it’s the same playing Casual or Hardcore if you just use your brain. There are some lessons to learn, but nothing too deep…

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January 26, 2011

TGCVR – Day Six – Finale!

Sorry for the lateness! I took the screenies on Saturday but had to rush out to London for a birthday party. Only just got back on my comp.

Here are the final states of my cities…

Casual

Hardcore

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My final thoughts on the whole experiment tomorrow!

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Sam

January 24, 2011

They mostly come at night… mostly

A while back, I started playing Die 2 Nite, a browser based multiplayer survival game. I also quit playing a while back, since it didn’t really work well. I’m not gonna go into all the problems but, generally, the concept just didn’t work. In the end, you can’t expect 40 strangers to actually work together and complete goals when 1 guy can literally get everyone killed. Too many people, too much potential for griefing.

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Anyways, I was thinking about new types of social games and was entertaining the idea of a tower defence game, but with typical resource management in order to build your defence. There are already some tower defence games on Facebook, but none that have really taken off.

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January 22, 2011

TGCVR – Day Five

Good day to one and all!

Here is the daily update on my two CityVille towns…

Casual

Hardcore

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Same as before really. Tomorrow will be the last day, since I won’t have access to a computer on Sunday-Monday. I’ll try and come up with some conclusions but generally it looks like playing hardcore is indeed better than casual… although the actual specifics of that are much less exciting than I’d hoped

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Sam

January 21, 2011

TGCVR – Day Four

It’s day number 4 in The Great CityVille Race, lets see how it’s going…

Casual

Hardcore

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One thing I’ve noticed, is that when playing casually (or stupidly, as I said in a previous post), CityVille isn’t really that much fun. It’s polished, cute and rewarding, but it really isn’t that groundbreaking. It really is just a decent city builder, adding a few extras socially but nothing really different with regards to standard gameplay. As a casual player, I generally felt that population was important and decided to build a lot more houses than I did in my hardcore town. In most town builders, population is one of the most important attributes. Unfortunately, in CityVille there are quite low caps to your population that require you to spam millions of friends in order to raise. I dislike doing this (it also could ruin my test!) and on my hardcore town I realized this was the case and didn’t bother.

In my hardcore town, I decided money was the best attribute, and it is. Businesses make more money, they’re more interesting (franchising is quite cool) and they directly relate to farming… making the farm goods -> sell goods interaction loop quite engaging (especially when you have to plan your crop and click timing). Could I casually play like this? Perhaps. I could focus on business casually. However, managing your goods and crops so that you don’t waste them (through time or the goods cap) yet always have enough to fill your businesses, is a challenging task. I still haven’t really mastered it at all yet. I didn’t really plan well enough, I could have been much more hardcore. I don’t think a casual experience would work with this gameplay, so casual players are stuck with population and spamming friends.

One thing I do appreciate much more, when playing casually, are the quests/goals. When I’m playing hardcore, and I’ve spammed hundreds of Shade Trees, I don’t really like it when some goal is restricting me from getting a new item because I didn’t build Blue Flowers instead. Even worse, there are quests that request me to build more Shade Trees… but I’ve filled up my whole town with them and have no where to put new ones! You’d think it would be simple for the game to check you already have them, some of the other goals do just that! When playing casually, goals give me something to do. As you can tell from the picture, I really do have a massive amount of money and free space. I don’t want to spam my friends too much, so I didn’t buy all the community buildings to raise my pop cap. I’ll add a new one tomorrow, I’ve already spammed too much today. What I’m left with, is nothing to do. At least the goals give me direction for what to build.

A bit of a rant there! See? I sacrifice so much for my readership!

Only 3 more days to go…

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Sam

January 20, 2011

TGCVR – Day Three

Quick update for y’all

Casual

Hardcore

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Hardcore is almost a level in front now. One thing I did do today, which may have slowed me down, was the quests or missions. Generally it wasn’t that disruptive to my master plan, just involved building some Blue Flowers instead of the masses of Shade Trees I had. With the millions of Cranberries I planted, I had to get some storage for my goods. You can make a pretty penny from selling them, so I’ve got a load of space and I’m planning to sell as many as I can spare from supplying my toy story farm. It’s a child’s dream.

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Sam

January 19, 2011

Tanking in LoL

Recently I got my old desktop back (I left in the the UK when I went to China) and have been playing a ridiculous amount of League of Legends. It is really good, and it’s such a relief to be playing with and against real people. Kinda.

The problem with a game like LoL, where you live and die as a team, is that 90% of the community are complete assholes. Every 5 games you play, 4 of them will be with at least one person abusing you. If you don’t pick a tank (the most important role in the team IMO), no-one else will 4/5 times. If someone does pick a tank, it’s likely they’re worse than you anyway… so you lose.

As you can tell, I lose a lot of games. I’m not saying I’m great at the game, but it’s so so difficult to do anything unless you have a decent tank or you do it yourself. When I play Malphite, I have a much better win/loss ratio. Malphite is one of the most powerful initiators in the game, probably the best. When I play as Trundle (my new ‘main’), I have a much worse win/loss ratio. I’m capable of doing massive damage and off-tanking very well, but the tank sucks and I get insta-killed by the entire enemy team. In the 1/5 games that someone does pick a tank, they’re not very good.

This seems to be a very common topic on the official forums…

Encourage People to Tank, I’m Never Tanking Again 😐 and Tanking – it isn’t so bad all highlight a number of problems with tanking. Much of it comes down to perception, and a feeling of doing a “thankless job”. The second link is a story that is very common in my experience.

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Malphite - My tank of choice

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January 19, 2011

TGCVR – Day Two

Evening all!

Here are my towns at the end of Day Two…

Casual

Hardcore

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One thing I’ve definitely noticed today, is that this study really should be taken with a hefty grain of salt. I’m talking ancient, bottom of the ocean sea crystals. While I’ve tried to make it fair, there’s a big chance that my mass farming (which I’d done before level 10), really pushed my Hardcore town further. The whole thing is so much more alive, mainly because of this farming space. As a casual player, I didn’t think about having lots of farms. I always had a lot of goods, so why grow more? I’m sure casual players think a little bit! Perhaps my casual town is actually just a ‘stupid town’.

Nonetheless, the Hardcore town is pulling away. The sheer amount of things to click, meant that I was always low on energy. I tried planning my crops a bit more. I decided to spam Toy Stores because they give good revenue, take a while to fill up, and use 50 goods. I have been experimenting with staging my crops (instead of building one massive batch), so that throughout the day I will be filling up my goods. It worked quite well today, tomorrow should be better.

As you can see, we’re the same level, although the hardcore town is advancing quicker. While we both have around 20000 coins (Hardcore just bought an expansion for 20k), the hardcore town is about 25% further into the experience bar. Both towns seem to be making a decent amount of money though. The bigger the hardcore town gets (with all the trees everywhere), the more powerful the multiplier effects will be. It’s economies of scale!

It ain’t pretty, but the hardcore town looks like it’s getting the job done!

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Sam