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How to Balance an RPG

#1
Josh Sawyer -- the veteran game designer of Icewind Dale II, Fallout: New Vegas, Alpha Protocol, and the upcoming Pillars of Eternity -- has written a bang-up article for Kotaku on the technical process of balancing computer-based role-playing games (CRPGs).

I think it's worth posting here for those who enjoy this kind of behind-the-scenes game development knowledge because it offers some valuable lessons for Limit Theory. LT is not a CRPG, exactly. But RPGs are usually highly systemic games -- there are a lot of moving parts that need to express the right dynamic behaviors. That's a characteristic they share with Limit Theory.

So I thought I'd share his article here, as it is full of things to consider when balancing the many components of a systemic game to insure that every choice a player might make remains a fun one.

For example:
Josh Sawyer wrote:How do we tune? The Sid Meier way: doubling and halving. For many people, the instinct when tuning is to try small incremental adjustments. This is usually not an efficient process. It's almost always much faster to halve or double the values being adjusted and only make smaller tweaks after you've already passed the target. ... Once you've confirmed you've gone too far, you can roll back so you've gone just far enough.
His article is rich with hard-won, practical advice of this kind for how to efficiently construct a game that is fun all the way up from the moment-to-moment mechanics to the feelings of achievement and aesthetic satisfaction when you're done playing.

This isn't to suggest that Josh isn't thinking about many of these things already. But I'll bet even he would find some useful ideas here.

In the meantime, if anyone here is interested in how you make a complex computer game enjoyable, you might like this article as well.
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Re: How to Balance an RPG

#5
Flatfingers wrote:
Josh Sawyer wrote:How do we tune? The Sid Meier way: doubling and halving. For many people, the instinct when tuning is to try small incremental adjustments. This is usually not an efficient process. It's almost always much faster to halve or double the values being adjusted and only make smaller tweaks after you've already passed the target. ... Once you've confirmed you've gone too far, you can roll back so you've gone just far enough.
Successive Approximation ADC

if you know signal analysis you have it easier :P

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