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I'm trying to create a formula that can be modified simply by changing two values: number_of_levels, and last_level_experience. This is to enable people modding the game to change the levelling requirements.

I've got it so that I can specify the number of XP needed for the last level up, but I want to be able to control the XP needed for the first level up, which in this case can differ wildly. For example, if I have 40 levels, and 1,000,000 XP for the last level, the first level up requirement is then 625. But if I change the levels to 80, the first level up becomes 156. In both cases, the last level needs 1,000,000.

There must be some way to get the computer to work out a suitable curve given just these two basic values.

#include <iostream>

int main()
{
    int levels = 40;
    if (levels < 2) levels = 2;

    int experience_for_last_level = 1e6;
    float fraction = 1.0 / levels;

    {
        int i = 0;
        float fraction_counter = fraction;
        int counter = levels;
        int total = 0;

        for (i = 1; i <= levels; ++i, fraction_counter += fraction, --counter)
        {
            int a = static_cast<int>(fraction_counter * experience_for_last_level / counter);

            std::cout <<"Level "<<i<<":  "<<a<<" ("<<counter<<")"<<"\n";

            total += a;
        }

        std::cout << "\nTotal Exp: " << total;
    }
}

Output:

Level 1:  625   (40)      Level 15: 14423  (26)      Level 29: 60416  (12)
Level 2:  1282  (39)      Level 16: 16000  (25)      Level 30: 68181  (11)
Level 3:  1973  (38)      Level 17: 17708  (24)      Level 31: 77499  (10)
Level 4:  2702  (37)      Level 18: 19565  (23)      Level 32: 88888  (9)
Level 5:  3472  (36)      Level 19: 21590  (22)      Level 33: 103124 (8)
Level 6:  4285  (35)      Level 20: 23809  (21)      Level 34: 121428 (7)
Level 7:  5147  (34)      Level 21: 26250  (20)      Level 35: 145833 (6)
Level 8:  6060  (33)      Level 22: 28947  (19)      Level 36: 179999 (5)
Level 9:  7031  (32)      Level 23: 31944  (18)      Level 37: 231249 (4)
Level 10: 8064  (31)      Level 24: 35294  (17)      Level 38: 316666 (3)
Level 11: 9166  (30)      Level 25: 39062  (16)      Level 39: 487499 (2)
Level 12: 10344 (29)      Level 26: 43333  (15)      Level 40: 999999 (1)
Level 13: 11607 (28)      Level 27: 48214  (14)
Level 14: 12962 (27)      Level 28: 53846  (13)
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11  
The fundamental problem is that there are infinitely many XP level curves that would end with the last level requiring that much XP. You have not constrained the dimensions of the problem, because you have not stated how you want the XP to change from level to level. Do you want an exponential growth curve? A parabolic growth curve? A linear one? Your problem is unsolvable in its current state. Personally, if I were modding the game, I'd want more control over the XP curve than just last level number and last level XP. I'd want to control the actual curve itself. –  Nicol Bolas Dec 12 '11 at 8:02
    
I can allow modders to control levelling via a script. –  Truncheon Dec 12 '11 at 8:23
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2 Answers 2

up vote 56 down vote accepted

Though there are infinitely many ways to choose them, it is common for leveling curves to follow a power rule such as the following one:

f(level) == A * exp(B * level)

The major advantage of this formula can be easily explained: for a given rule, there is a fixed value N such that each level costs N percent more than the previous one.

Your initial variables add the following restrictions:

f(1) - f(0) == experience_for_first_level
f(levels) - f(levels - 1) == experience_for_last_level

Two equations, two unknowns. This looks good. Simple maths give A and B:

B = log(experience_for_last_level / experience_for_first_level) / (levels - 1);
A = experience_for_first_level / (exp(B) - 1);

Resulting in the following code:

#include <cmath>
#include <iostream>

int main(void)
{
    int levels = 40;
    int xp_for_first_level = 1000;
    int xp_for_last_level = 1000000;

    double B = log((double)xp_for_last_level / xp_for_first_level) / (levels - 1);
    double A = (double)xp_for_first_level / (exp(B) - 1.0);

    for (int i = 1; i <= levels; i++)
    {
        int old_xp = round(A * exp(B * (i - 1)));
        int new_xp = round(A * exp(B * i));
        std::cout << i << " " << (new_xp - old_xp) << std::endl;
    }
}

And the following output:

1 1000          9 4125          17 17012        25 70170        33 289427
2 1193          10 4924         18 20309        26 83768        34 345511
3 1425          11 5878         19 24245        27 100000       35 412462
4 1702          12 7017         20 28943        28 119378       36 492389
5 2031          13 8377         21 34551        29 142510       37 587801
6 2424          14 10000        22 41246        30 170125       38 701704
7 2894          15 11938        23 49239        31 203092       39 837678
8 3455          16 14251        24 58780        32 242446       40 1000000
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11  
If only all answers were this well planned and thought out. –  Nate Dec 12 '11 at 23:07
1  
That was… nice. Thank you sir. –  Sam Hocevar Dec 12 '11 at 23:35
    
The curve here is much more palatable. –  Truncheon Dec 22 '11 at 22:26
    
Good answer. This may be a stupid question, but how do you calculate N that you described above? What if you wanted to make N the pluggable variable? Let me know if I should ask a separate question for this. –  tieTYT Sep 5 '13 at 17:30
1  
@tieTYT the relationship between N and B is exp(B) = 1 + N, or B = log(1 + N). So if you want each level to require e.g. 15% more than the previous one, you’ll need B = log(1 + 0.15) = 0.13976. –  Sam Hocevar Sep 6 '13 at 9:23
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Don't forget to round the numbers after you figured out your curve. It doesn't make much sense to tell the player he needs 119,378 experience points to reach the next level — because the person would always understand it as "roughly 120,000". Thus you will be better off doing the rounding yourself, and presenting "clean" results to your players. For example the following code (which extends upon the Sam Hocevar's) will attempt to round up to ≈2.2 significant digits (obviously that constant can be tweaked as you want):

from math import exp, log

levels = 40
xp_for_first_level = 1000
xp_for_last_level = 1000000

B = log(1.0 * xp_for_last_level / xp_for_first_level) / (levels - 1)
A = 1.0 * xp_for_first_level / (exp(B) - 1.0)

def xp_for_level(i):
    x = int(A * exp(B * i))
    y = 10**int(log(x) / log(10) - 2.2)
    return int(x / y) * y

for i in range(1, levels+1):
    print( "%d:  %d" % (i, xp_for_level(i) - xp_for_level(i-1)) )

The output is:

1:  1000     9:  4200     17:  17100    25:  70000     33:  287000
2:  1190    10:  4900     18:  20300    26:  84000     34:  340000
3:  1420    11:  5900     19:  24200    27:  100000    35:  420000
4:  1710    12:  7000     20:  28700    28:  119000    36:  490000
5:  2030    13:  8400     21:  34000    29:  142000    37:  590000
6:  2420    14:  10000    22:  42000    30:  171000    38:  700000
7:  2870    15:  11900    23:  49000    31:  203000    39:  840000
8:  3400    16:  14200    24:  59000    32:  242000    40:  1000000
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