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Let's look at a game with lots of stats and modifiers:

  • If you are starving, you move slower;
  • If you are inspired, you do more damage;
  • If you are unlucky, you receive fewer rewards from quests;
  • Item Hood: gives +10% Mana when the player has it equipped;
  • etc.

Given the context above, I have a few questions:

  • How would you approach those states? Like, starving. Would you prefer creating a stat starving that ranges from 0-100 and anything >= 0 means the character is starving, but the greater the number, the more starving they are; Or would you go with something like hunger; when hunger >= 50, put a starving tag at the character? Or would you go with something else? Could elaborate why?
  • How do you decide the numbers and ranges for your stats? Let's say you have the Attack attribute. Do you prefer 0..100, 0..1000, 0..1? 0..Infinity? Why?
  • How do you approach effect removal? When you have an item that gives you +5 Attack, I guess it's a simple problem to solve: you give the item and add 5 to the Attack stat. When the item is unequipped, you remove 5 from the stat and you're done. But when you have something like +10% Mana things get a little bit more complicated, because this is a stateful situation. Adding is simple: at the moment the item was added, you just get how much is 10% of the Character's Mana and add that amount to the Mana stat. But removing is complicated: you cannot remove 10% of the Character's Mana because it may have changed between the moment you added the item and removed it. That said: how do you deal with that? Would you save in the item itself the amount of mana that was added to the character and remove that exact amount upon unequipping the item? What is your approach here?
  • Say you need a formula that applies extra damage when a character is inspired. Is there any tool you use to construct the formula for you? Do you design the formula yourself? Do you go full trial and error?
  • How do approach balancing? Trial and error? Do you use curve graphs to get to a spot you think it's sweet? Is there a universal convention I'm not aware of?

Disclaimers:

  • I'm not sure it's best for me to create multiple posts, each containing one of the questions above - so please, guide me here.
  • All the questions come from an indie, solo game developer, with scarce resources.
  • I know many of my questions would be reduced to a simple answer: it depends on what you're trying to achieve. Turns out, I'm trying to learn and explore the possibilities. I need/want to be enlightened.
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    \$\begingroup\$ StackExchange works on a model of one question per post. You have far too many questions here for any single answer to cover them all. Most of them are also matters of opinion and preference, or at least highly contingent on the particulars of the game. For many of the alternatives you cite, you can easily find examples of successful games that have made opposite choices. That should be a strong clue that there is not a simple "correct" answer that can be deduced to work for any game, but that this requires individual judgement. I think only the "how to handle removing an effect" is on-topic. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Nov 25 at 18:45