ONGOING - Systems and Refinement

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ONGOING - Systems and Refinement

Post  GM_ODA on Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:07 pm

Friends,

Recently an excellent new player here made some comments in the polls thread, rather than clutter a polls thread I brought a copy of these comments over here to hold a general discussion on matters tabled. Very Happy

Cowbot wrote:I don't like most realism features for various reasons: Lag, bugs, takes away from the fun, stops RP and is awkward, etc. I don't even like the food/water/rest thing because of how it interacts poorly with RP. It basically means our conversation, which in real life only takes a few minutes, actually takes hours. If I stay in the tavern, or outside, just chatting with folks for an hour IRL, my character probably has to rest once or twice, and that doesn't make sense and breaks immersion. Who, after an hour long conversation, says "Sorry I need a nap brb"?

BUT I like having options. Options are great and I'd encourage you to implement more, if time allows.


These are important issues so I certainly want to break them out a bit and gather some further information.

1) LAG - Lag? You are finding lag? Please help us find moments of lag - we slay lagmonsters outright. Can you be specific on times and places where lag occurs? We are serious about eliminating all lag.

2) BUGS - please post specific information about specific bugs so we can hunt them down and eliminate them.

3) Hunger/Thirst/Fatigue (food/drink/rest) - we tried to align our 'consumption' systems with reality, using the survivalist standard of 3. This is the notion that, although individuals' constitution is a variable, the default is : a PC can go 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. If you are experiencing exhaustion of your PC's allocated time too rapidly, we want to know so we can adjust the rate at which things happen. Our goal is to enable a PC to survive with normal activity, just sipping on a drink from time to time, eating a couple meals a day (the sort of thing that should not get in the way of RP, but be an adjunct to it; allowing a camping group to cook a meal, chat and act natural is the intended goal).

Time in the game should move at a rate of 1 in-game hour per eight minutes of RL time passing. This would mean, after "an hour of IRL rp/dialog with other PCs" about six in game hours will have passed, maybe more. Depending on how rested your PC is at the start of the chat, it might well be needing some rest near the end. Now, the in-game messages, those are just cues to the player to let them know in a timely and ongoing basis what the status of the PC is - all that "licks lips", "belly rumbles" or "yawns" auto-emotes (which can be turned off) are just there to alert the player and provide in-game color. You don't have to worry about your PC perishing until you start seeing those 'red bars' being displayed.

It is hoped these systems do not get in the way of RP (way up high on our list of objectives is RP) but rather aid in it. If any of these systems are not seeming to be running right, maybe the timing rate of hunger thirst or fatigue seems too high or too low, let us know as we are still making adjustments and it is YOUR subjective experiences that help guide our hand in these matters.

THANK YOU for your feedback and PLEASE KEEP THE DIALOG GOING as we view feedback as gold here! Very Happy


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Re: ONGOING - Systems and Refinement

Post  Cowbot on Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:50 pm

Hello ODA, thanks for the response!

I didn't go into huge detail because it didn't seem totally on topic.

Lag - It's not that you have lag, it's how lag interacts with survival mechanics. I'll give you an example:

Server has "if you are cold you take damage" mechanic. I am freezing to death, which means I have X number of real life minutes to get to shelter or my character dies. But I'm lagging due to TimeWarner/AT&T whatever (not the server) so instead of easily being able to reach shelter in X minutes, I freeze to death.

Bugs - realistic settings and survival mechanics tend to have a penalty for death. Heck, almost all servers have a penalty for death. Hunger/thirst/fatigue and the elements are just additional ways for me to die. So let's say I get bugged: I can't move, or I get trapped, or a system isn't working properly, and I die. WELP! Too bad for me. This happened on this server! I used the bathing sponge and got teleported into the water and drowned even though my head was above water. If I had had perma-death on, I'd be toast.

Bugs can ruin fights and other things too, but survival mechanics are just yet another avenue for bugs to ruin things. In modded content they tend to do it even more because bugs exist in greater numbers in player-generated content than officially-coded content.

Time- Resting gets in the way of RP. I tend to RP, and want to RP, my character sleeping when I need to log off or I need to sleep. Otherwise, who wants to RP their character sleeping?!

If I need to RP going to take a nap every hour or so RL time, that definitely gets in the way. Example: Conversation is going great, I'm deep into some political intrigue or discussing some dungeon puzzle, but suddenly my character needs to sleep and kills the pacing of the entire thing.

I think it much better to let players decide when to sleep, and let us RP resting to gain spells etc. as brief prayers, oiling weapons, and the like: brief interactions that take as long as the in-game action actually takes.

Should we have the option to make camp and RP through that? YES. But being forced to do it every hour or face magic damage isn't assisting RP.

I can make the same, though less extreme, arguments for the other survival mechanics. Without these systems, I can RP eating and drinking whenever I want. Now, I either have to ignore them (which is what I do) or RP based on a timescale that is completely out of alignment with my actual experience. Even if I type like mad for 8 minutes there is no way Sama would say so few words in an hour. See what I mean?

Some people enjoy juggling food and water etc. I enjoy those things too if that's what the game is about - I played a TON of Don't Starve (a survival horror game with cute artwork). But I don't think NWN is a good game to do this, it's not built from the ground up to support these kinds of things.


Don't feel obligated to change things based on my opinion though. You've managed to make the systems not annoying, so it's not driving me away. If I could turn them off, though, I would.

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Re: ONGOING - Systems and Refinement

Post  GM_ODA on Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:01 am

Friend Cowbot,

I could hug you. Seriously.

Thank you for your input. You have made some interesting observations. I'll try to address your concerns in this reply but I would like to start by thanking you for your HIGH PRAISE.


Cowbot wrote:
Don't feel obligated to change things based on my opinion though. You've managed to make the systems not annoying, so it's not driving me away. If I could turn them off, though, I would.

That you've seen HTF systems fluff up elsewhere and seen lag issues elsewhere so have justifiable trepidation, I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND. I've visited a few servers long ago, and seen similar. Likewise I tested a lot of systems from the vault, found many unacceptable, in many cases, what you see here is me borrowing ideas from everywhere and scratch-coding the scripts to ensure no lag, and minimal bugs (we are always refining our work). Eriniel is just shy of her Masters degree in programming, so our lead scripter is really good at keeping things working smoothly. She and I are both fiends for creating 'no lag' and always seeking to remove it where found.


Cowbot wrote:Hello ODA, thanks for the response!

I didn't go into huge detail because it didn't seem totally on topic.

You are very welcome and I applaud your sensibilities on the matter. Very Happy

Cowbot wrote:Lag - It's not that you have lag, it's how lag interacts with survival mechanics. I'll give you an example:

Server has "if you are cold you take damage" mechanic. I am freezing to death, which means I have X number of real life minutes to get to shelter or my character dies. But I'm lagging due to TimeWarner/AT&T whatever (not the server) so instead of easily being able to reach shelter in X minutes, I freeze to death.

I totally agree - lag deaths are the worst sort of death. We try to avoid lag, so if lag is on our end, we'll script-fix it if a player reports it. If the lag is elsewhere we cannot avoid that but we will reimburse any lag induced death if a player asks. We will use the players reported experience to help us avoid such issues in the future too. Thus far, owing largely to clean code and reasonably good design we have had very little report of lag.

Cowbot wrote:Bugs - realistic settings and survival mechanics tend to have a penalty for death. Heck, almost all servers have a penalty for death. Hunger/thirst/fatigue and the elements are just additional ways for me to die. So let's say I get bugged: I can't move, or I get trapped, or a system isn't working properly, and I die. WELP! Too bad for me. This happened on this server! I used the bathing sponge and got teleported into the water and drowned even though my head was above water. If I had had perma-death on, I'd be toast.

Bugs can ruin fights and other things too, but survival mechanics are just yet another avenue for bugs to ruin things. In modded content they tend to do it even more because bugs exist in greater numbers in player-generated content than officially-coded content.

Again, I totally agree. Bugs suck and can be lethal to a PC at times. We fix all reported bugs. We replentish any lost lives too. This happens rarely but it does happen (some of this is currently due to systems we need to repair, some due to the EE upgrade and scripts working a little differently now than they did before; we are exploring in EE, logging what is broken, and repairing all deficiencies as fast as can be - watch for some fixes for bugs you reported this week in the next update (ready for release now, actually, just waiting for me to upload).

Cowbot wrote:Time- Resting gets in the way of RP. I tend to RP, and want to RP, my character sleeping when I need to log off or I need to sleep. Otherwise, who wants to RP their character sleeping?!

If I need to RP going to take a nap every hour or so RL time, that definitely gets in the way. Example: Conversation is going great, I'm deep into some political intrigue or discussing some dungeon puzzle, but suddenly my character needs to sleep and kills the pacing of the entire thing.

...Without these systems, I can RP eating and drinking whenever I want. Now, I either have to ignore them (which is what I do) or RP based on a timescale that is completely out of alignment with my actual experience. Even if I type like mad for 8 minutes there is no way Sama would say so few words in an hour. See what I mean?

I agree. I like the rate of time flow here, though I would make it move slower if it did not muck up some other systems terribly. Presently 8 RL minutes is 1 in-game hour. Here's the thing, the HTF system work pretty well under normal use, but if you try to RP for say one RL hour, that amounts to something like 8 hours in-game. There aspects of the food/drink system that some players really enjoy (like poisoning), and owing to the RP potential there I'm inclined to keep it, but that does not mean it could not be improved upon. Very Happy

I'm reading your words and wondering, do we need a 'time-out-of-time' option, invoked when PCs pause to RP extensively, it would remove them all from the effects of HTF for the duration. Technically a player who wanted to never starve or dehydrate or tire _could_ just stay in that mode, while leaving it intact for the rest of the players and general use.

Note there are nuances to this system you have yet to see - for example, IOUN STONES like in D&D, there are IOUN STONES here that can allow a PC to 'exist without food', 'exist without drink', 'exist without rest'; these are rare and wondrous magic items, eh?

We are by default, aging PCs as they play. At the rate of time progression, a player could play a human PC for several years before they become geriatric. We do this in part to help simulate a world and stimulate players to always make a few new PCs. It keeps the community dynamic, but cycles slowly enough that you seldom have a PC 'age out', still it is enough to give impetus to a player about making a legacy and perhaps settling down toward the end. Some races are long lived, and others short, it adds new dimension to NWN play. We are likewise considering an 'ageless option' for players. Though, again, there is an IOUN STONE that protects you against aging, and the restoration magic here can likewise manage such things, and I like too the Potions of Longevity.

Cowbot wrote:
I think it much better to let players decide when to sleep, and let us RP resting to gain spells etc. as brief prayers, oiling weapons, and the like: brief interactions that take as long as the in-game action actually takes.

Should we have the option to make camp and RP through that? YES. But being forced to do it every hour or face magic damage isn't assisting RP.

At present a typical PC should be able to survive a couple days without sleep - though not be functioning optimally after the first 20 hours or so. Are you experiencing some rate of fatigue other than this? It may be due to exertion/CONstitution issues. I'll be happy to diagnose the issue if you think this may be the case. I do like making rest important to all characters (in NWN it is traditionally important for casters and almost optional for all others, especially if they don't need to 'heal'). Our systems are intended to impair the PC if they don't rest for days.

Cowbot wrote:
I can make the same, though less extreme, arguments for the other survival mechanics.

Some people enjoy juggling food and water etc. I enjoy those things too if that's what the game is about - I played a TON of Don't Starve (a survival horror game with cute artwork). But I don't think NWN is a good game to do this, it's not built from the ground up to support these kinds of things.

I understand your sentiments. We try to provide systems that give options and as always these things are being ever-refined with input from users. I look forward to future dialog with you regarding these and other matters. Feedback is GOLD here. I'm sure we will agree on many points, and disagree on others, such is human nature, but I do enjoy the discussion and thought that dialog promotes. As noted many times, some of our best features are here because someone spoke up. Heck, I can't have all the great ideas. Razz

Keep it coming. Very Happy


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Be well. Game on.
GM_ODA
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GM_ODA
Forum Oracle

Male Number of posts : 2851
Location : USA East Coast
Registration date : 2008-10-17

Character sheet
Character Name: Firkin Alechugger
Race: Dwarf
Overall Level: 11

https://web.archive.org/web/20151106073532/http://playnwn.com/

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