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I’m creating a game with a fairly simple gameplay. The battle will be similar to rock, paper, scissors but with stat components where your choice combined with your stats determines the winner. It has limited graphics however it’s weapon based so you weapon will be shown. Therefore I think it’s be more fun to focus a lot on loot and upgrading the visual of the weapons and other properties of your character that you’re using in battle.

The problem is I have a fairly limited budget to start so I’m trying to determine the best way to stretch my graphic assets and number of weapon yet still make the game interesting.

The options I’ve considered so far:

1) At the end of every game you get a new random weapon/weapon skin. This is the most fun but also would require the most skins as you’ll run through them really quick.

2) When you win you win a random weapon skin, you then have to combine them in some way like 3 tier 1 skins equals 1 tier 2 skin, and 3 tier 2 skins equals 1 tier 3 skin. This is a nice middle balance.

3) You only win stat increases, you must pay for new skins if you want to upgrade your cosmetics. This is the least fun way as your “loot” isn’t very appealing, but I would only need a few assets in the store to start.

I’m hoping by asking this I can find quality and creative ways to approach this issue that I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of. I know there is no “best” so hopefully this question isn’t off topic but Intruly need help here.

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When you want to get the most variation out of a small collection of assets, combinatorics can be a major ally.

Let's say we have the budget for 15 art assets to put toward our swords. We could get 15 sword skins, or we could get:

  • 3 sword blades
  • 3 hand guards
  • 3 pommels
  • 3 tassels
  • 3 gems / inscriptions

By layering one item from each category together, we create a new sword. The total number of swords we can create this way is 3*3*3*3*3 = 243. And if we add in applying a runtime tint, squash/stretch/twist/warp, or material effect to the image, we can multiply this even further.

Granted, not every one of these swords will feel entirely unique - players are good at picking up on patterns and "chunking" systems like these down to a smaller set of perceived clusters - but it's still going to give you more than 15 distinct reward milestones, even if you use only a fraction of the possibility space.

Making art assets that can combine freely like this is also more challenging / more limiting than making standalone assets, so there will be a trade-off between how much you split out for combinatoric multiplication and how much you reserve for bespoke artistry. When done well though, this kind of technique can be a force multiplier for a small art budget.

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