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240 votes

Is it unethical to make a game AI that is secretly non-competitive?

Game AIs are almost always non-competitive, because if the AI would really try its hardest to win, it would often be unbeatable. An AI is not bound to human limitations like reflexes, accuracy, ...
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77 votes
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How might I eliminate asymmetrical gameplay caused by turn order?

Have the players take their turns simultaneously. This also has the added benefit of speeding up the game, because players don't sit idle while waiting for the other players to make their moves. In ...
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77 votes

Why do some games persistently have mostly one viable strategy, while others can have many?

In the end it all boils down to one axiom: Game design is hard! And multiplayer game design is even harder. After years of development, you think you came up with a perfectly balanced game design ...
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69 votes
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Level playing field: Punish the better player or enhance the worse player?

Match making If you can keep updated skill metrics on the players, then you are able to create a system that can peer people of similar skill. Granted, this could lead to starvation (and by that I ...
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59 votes
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How to give the player the feeling of being chased by enemies and force him/her to rush

Music. Music is probably the most effective way to express feelings. If you manage to use the appropiate song that tells "Danger, run!", that is better than any camera movement (If you combine ...
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53 votes

Level playing field: Punish the better player or enhance the worse player?

Neither is good. Why would you try getting better if all it does is give the opponent bonuses or makes you worse? You might as well just make a casino game if only the chances decide who wins. It ...
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47 votes

Is it unethical to make a game AI that is secretly non-competitive?

A game's AI is a part of a game's overall design. At the end of the day, the AI you create needs to complement the game design. If your game is designed around creating a challenging, competitive ...
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43 votes
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What is the design rationale for having armor and magic penetration mechanics?

I think there are three aspects of this: Meaningful decisions. Balance. Mechanic complexity. On the meaningful decisions aspect... well, if the answer to armor is more damage, then that is not a ...
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39 votes

How might I eliminate asymmetrical gameplay caused by turn order?

Do what Power Grid does: Players take turns in order of farthest behind to furthest ahead in terms of scoring (in the case of Power Grid, the player who powered the fewest cities that round). This ...
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38 votes
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Character ability power balance

In any game where you have character leveling, you need to decide on a power curve. This is a mathematical function which maps game progress to character strength. This curve can be linear, ...
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36 votes
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How can I prevent small numerical advantages from dominating the balance of an encounter?

The problem with your approach is that you decide the result of the combat the moment you decide on the main stat. When you have 4 main stats, and the fighter is only better in one of them, their win-...
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35 votes
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How can the lategame in a 4X game be made more exciting?

This is a difficult question to answer objectively, but I will try to construct a solution to your problem without guessing: You describe the problem at hand as an end of competition to one player ...
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26 votes

Is it unethical to make a game AI that is secretly non-competitive?

As a preface, I'm going to correlate ethics with cheating. If you feel cheated, you feel something unethical has happened to you. In a nutshell, to make your AI's behavior acceptable, make the ...
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24 votes

How do Action RPGs make different weapon types feel unique?

A problem that all game designers face Games need to engage their players. In general, a game can be broken down into two dimensions. Depth, and required knowledge. There is generally a positive ...
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  • 676
21 votes

How can I let new players effectively compete with long-time players?

The only similar system I know is OGame. In OGame, players are protected from other players until the have a certain amount of points (I think it is 50.000). It makes more sense to protect players ...
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21 votes

How might I eliminate asymmetrical gameplay caused by turn order?

The easiest way I could think of to balance out the gameplay for all players is to randomize the turn order after each round. While this would give everyone a fair chance, I'm worried that this ...
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19 votes

How can the lategame in a 4X game be made more exciting?

In terms of balance, competitive games can generally be sorted into one of three types: Positive reinforcement: When one player gains a small advantage over the other, that advantage gives that ...
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19 votes

How to give the player the feeling of being chased by enemies and force him/her to rush

In order to keep player engaged, my advises are: 1) moving camera up: slowly is good, but you can choose to change camera's speed in more challenging levels, 2) camera position: you have a lot of ...
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  • 437
19 votes

Level playing field: Punish the better player or enhance the worse player?

Your specific scenario is to allow fun competitive play between one or more players with cerebral palsy and other players without that condition. You mention that the main disadvantage is that of ...
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  • 436
19 votes

What is the design rationale for having armor and magic penetration mechanics?

For fun. Let's consider the most simple mechanic available: a character has N points of Health, and always does 1 point of Damage per Second. When two characters fight, the one with the most points ...
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18 votes

Is it unethical to make a game AI that is secretly non-competitive?

Yes. An AI should stay at the level that it was set to. A chess AI will beat all of us every time, and it's up to us to tune it to something we find enjoyable. I would never want the AI to dumb ...
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  • 425
17 votes
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How do I fairly distribute new powerful cards to players in a collectible card game?

Some suggestions to bring more cards into the game: When a player wins a match, reward them with two cards: One from the losers deck and one newly created one. You might also consider giving a ...
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  • 112k
16 votes

How can the lategame in a 4X game be made more exciting?

In my opinion, the way you fix this is to decouple the victory condition from the production mechanic. For a great example, check Eclipse, the board game. You can score a lot of points just for ...
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  • 6,409
16 votes

Why do some games persistently have mostly one viable strategy, while others can have many?

You said it: Dota has a mixture of RPS balance and fixed, hidden character selection. The characters that the enemy team chooses to play are hidden information, and thus you must evaluate your own ...
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  • 271
14 votes
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What is the function or benefit of including juggling mechanics in a fighting game?

Indie fighting game developer chiming in, with one released low poly 3D fighting game. The following answer is based on my personal experience and what I observed in the genre. Juggle systems in ...
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13 votes

How can I prevent small numerical advantages from dominating the balance of an encounter?

Your mistake is using a "dice based" approach. You're on a computer you can use any system you like. Make a table that turns a difference in values into a %age chance to win and then you can set the ...
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