Adding "Gameplay" to Non-Combat States

General discussion about the game.
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Adding "Gameplay" to Non-Combat States

Postby angelocire » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:07 am

So, there's the whole thread which discusses 'removing'/'allowing for the removal of' downtime after battles, by making it so that those monotonous tasks can be handled by the game.

Why, I wonder, do people ask for "less" gameplay, if it's gameplay they dislike? Why not ask for "more" gameplay (if you're in the camp that it's lacking in decisions), or "better" gameplay (if you're in the camp that the decisions are meaningless)?

Why not allow you to skip or speed-up repair via repair minigames?
Why not add random occurrences to post-battle as well?
Why not allow your crew to interact with each other, based on their assigned tasks?
*EDIT*: To clarify; it would be cool if when crew performed tasks in the same room for long periods, they became "friends" (or whatever you like to think of it as), giving them a general productivity bonus to whatever they're doing while in their friends' proximity.

I'm not saying that these are all good ideas, or even that it would be feasible given time and the spirit of the game... but it seems like so many comments would rather fix a deficit by cutting out the gameplay involved- but if something isn't fun, why not try to find ways to make it fun?

I would personally love to see all 3 of those suggestions implemented, but I understand that many would not, and many more would find them running contrary to how they play the game. Just a thought.
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Re: Adding "Gameplay" to Non-Combat States

Postby NomadWanderer » Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:52 pm

The point of that 'other' thread was that there were points in the game, where it wasn't a game anymore.. Not that there were parts of the gameplay that were disliked, that there were parts that did have ANY gameplay.

If you have a large crew, a level 1 medbay, No fires, no breaches, no dmg'd components, 100% air, and every crew has 10 hp. Guess what you are doing to spend the next 2-3 minutes doing? (moving each and every character in and out of the medbay...) How about if we make most of those crew rockmen? Don't forget you need to move each crew member back to their assigned spot on the ship.

You will likely have this scenario at least a few times during each game... over the course of a game (or even 20 games) that idle time adds up.

Watching hitpoint bars increase, and moving people in and out of the medbay (again while the ship is post battle, no danger, no repair, 100% healthy) isn't really game play...

If you consider the medbay shuffle gameplay, then minimize the game, and copy large files from folder A to folder B,C or D. It also has a progress bar, and a list of files that are waiting to be copied. We can even say that certain files from directory A need to land in certain directories B,C,D..

Similar statements can be made about waiting for Ion's to unstun your ship.

You also cannot open your ship inventory, map, or do anything other than wait. Doing anything else, pauses the game.

I'm all for doing anything to improve that aspect... So to be clear.. it's not that I dislike that medbay shuffle gameplay, I'm saying there isn't any gameplay during that part.

Add a minigame that instant heals everyone, so you don't have to do the medbay shuffle.. even allow me to look at the star map, ship inventory, etc.

Finally, please don't get me wrong. FTL is an amazing game. I have over ~75 hours logged on it.. that's more time than skyrim (60) and almost more time than Fallout New Vegas (90). Both of those games are Triple A titles with hefty price tags. .. With that much time logged on FTL, I'm sure I have a large chunk of it staring at HP bars increase/doing the medbay shuffle.. and it's ok.. I'll stare a progress bar for a small percentage if I have to because the rest of time I'm not staring at a progress bar is so awesome. I'm not sure the developers realize what they have accomplished. This one of the few indie games that will breakout into the mainstream, because it has a perfect mix of things.

I just wish it had less non gameplay parts in it.
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Re: Adding "Gameplay" to Non-Combat States

Postby ughblugh » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:43 pm

Seems like a speed up time button would help somewhat here.
Related note - I downloaded shadowrun for the snes over the weekend. Great game if you never played. But. There are bits where you're just waiting for things to happen. as I was playing on an emulator I was able to speed it up to skip those bits and get back to actual gameplay.
If a speedup button was added, while you'd still have to shuffle people into the medbay, at least you wouldn't be waiting so long for them to heal. it would also make repairs a little less tedious after combat too.
Or, if outside of combat status, healing was instant inside the medbay. This might unbalance things a little given solar flares and meteors ,so if the danger status cant be easily tracked, maybe just the speed up button would be a better solution.
Either would ameliorate some of the pain of post combat fixups
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Re: Adding "Gameplay" to Non-Combat States

Postby angelocire » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:17 pm

I specifically started this thread because the other was operating under the that this "medbay shuffle" as you call it is not gameplay, which I disagree with. So, rather than belabor the point further there, I started this thread for people who DO think it's gameplay, by merit of the fact it's time spent in a game, which you are, ipso facto, playing. Gameplay.

The analogy of copying files is incredibly flawed, and furthermore, ignores the reality that games are all based upon a simple input-output feedback-loop. When you start reducing analogies to that level (copy, wait) (click, wait) (hold 'w', wait) you're going to find that every single game is based upon exactly that. All that changes is the interval between inputs, and the 'window dressing' of the visuals presented. The point of liking or disliking that interaction is subjective. It proves that this is simply a case of something YOU don't like.

Oh, and you literally answered none of my questions, or offered any thoughts as to how it could be bettered.
Moving on.
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Re: Adding "Gameplay" to Non-Combat States

Postby angelocire » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:21 pm

To further give an example of why your analogy is flawed-

Take the files, and call them 'asteroids', and call the copying process 'mining'. Then, have the new files be called 'ore'.

All you did was change labels, and now look- it's a mechanic that tons of games already employ AS GAMEPLAY.

Like I said, "window dressing".
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Re: Adding "Gameplay" to Non-Combat States

Postby NomadWanderer » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:17 pm

angelocire wrote:To further give an example of why your analogy is flawed- Take the files, and call them 'asteroids', and call the copying process 'mining'. Then, have the new files be called 'ore'. All you did was change labels, and now look- it's a mechanic that tons of games already employ AS GAMEPLAY. Like I said, "window dressing".

I'm not sure changing the names makes the activity any different... You are clicking three times and watching a progress bar for 15-20 seconds, then clicking 3 times and watching a progress bar for 15-20 seconds, and repeating that activity over and over again 20-30 times throughout the course of the game.

I struggle to accept your definition that any activity that occurs between a game starts loading and finishing as 'gameplay'... and also struggle to accept that the mindless medbay shuffle is 'gameplay' either.

Plain and simple, I want to be able to do something else than watch so many progress bars.

Take these two ship uses cases.

Federation "Victory" Cruiser, with 5 rockman crew, 2 human crew.
Engi "Torus" Ship, with 5 rockman crew, 2 human crew.

Both ships are 100% repaired, 100% out of danger, and have 100% air. All crew are hurt, and have 10 hp.

The engi player alt tabs and watches "Monkeys smelling their own fingers and falling off trees" on you tube for 4 minutes. All Crew are healed in the background. The Engi player alt-tabs back in and continues playing.

The Federation player moves each of the crew to the medbay. As they are finished healing the federation player has to check which crew had which job, and ensure they get back to the right position on the ship. After doing the 21 clicks, and waiting for the 7 progress bars, The federation player continues playing.

Do the above.. You will absolutely feel the difference the Torus augment makes in upkeep activities.

Both scenarios result in a healed crew, and took roughly the same amount of time.. But the federation player has to do a lot more clicking AND waiting and then checking to make sure that the right crew get back to their posts... Why the same outcome (with no real possibility of deviation)... If there were random events, or even minigames ("you didn't hit the artery with the scalpel! the crewmember is healed") that would be different.. but there isn't.. it's stare at progress bars, and click mindlessly for the federation player, and laugh at Monkeys for the engi.

Does that mean the Torus augment is too strong? I hope not.. I hope the augment isn't seen as too strong because it removes mindless labor.. (It may seem too strong IMO because it helps deal with IN DANGER situations, but that's a different topic).

I didn't respond to your questions about "why can't I do X? or Y?" because I think the only people who can answer why you can't do those things is a developer. Those ideas are pretty focused/solution oriented..
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Re: Adding "Gameplay" to Non-Combat States

Postby Darthcaboose » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:49 pm

A good counter to this would be to make timed events. You only have so many minutes to rush from the beginning of a certain quest to its end node. In this case, you can't spend all your time healing everyone back up to full, but somehow coordinate that along with your hectic power management. (Okay, rockmen, I'll just heal a few of you up while I'm running to the next node...)

It's difficult to fix the medbay shuffle without adding extra mechanics to the game or crazy exceptions that people'll be confused about.

How about, add a medibay heal burst where every 60/45/30 seconds, you can press a button to heal all your crewmembers on your ship for 50 health. Works kind of like the new Artillery system for the Federation Cruiser. When out of combat, no systems damaged, no breaches, or fires, and O2 is high enough you can spam this button to heal everyone up quickly.
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Re: Adding "Gameplay" to Non-Combat States

Postby NomadWanderer » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:01 pm

A very interesting idea.. I like some sort of optional timed/hard core mode where you can't sit there and take 20 minutes to whittle this enemy down, because the rebels are only 2 jumps back.. and they'll be here before you finish!! You need to just jump away as soon as you can! That would definitely add decisions into it.. Can I afford to take the time for my crew to step away from their jobs and spend time in the med bay...

Ultimately I think it's partly my fault as a player trying to maximize my score/game.. Heal everyone to full.. pay very close attention, ensuring the right crew members get back to the right rooms. Power is set just right.. But in my defense, I think alot of players are going to play that way though.. It would be silly to jump into the next combat situation without taking the time to heal everyone up, or repair your weapons/shields before doing so..

I think DarthCaboose definitely hit a key point on the head with the 'time' aspect.

The challenge is that healing/repairing during a dangerous situation is MUCH different than healing/repairing during an absolutely safe one.. (During a dangerous situation, the amount of time healing/repairing takes adds to the decision making....Do I really have enough time to heal while they are shooting missiles?!?!? I could lose my 2 star weapons officer on a direct hit, but I'll not have the extra firing speed while they are in the medbay!.... That's not even a decision when things are absolutely safe....)

I love the ideas around adding something to the safe moment to make it more than just staring at a progress bar.. whether it's a 2x/3x speed up button, or a minigame, or whatever, IMO its no different than watching and waiting for any other progress bar..

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