Posts Tagged ‘Role-playing game system’

Since my about the author page is a bit lacking at the moment I’m considering adding a bit from this post to it when I get the chance.

In the Myers-Briggs personality classification thing, I am an INTJ. Now people may not put a lot of faith in these sorts of tests, and yes I am a little skeptical myself, but the description they give for INTJ is pretty accurate. Depending on where you go on the web you might get slightly different descriptions of the types, but most of places I’ve read describe INTJ as “system builders” or are in some way interested in systems. Usually examples are given that INTJs are interested in things like computer science, engineering, language, law etc. because those all deal with systems. All those things are quite interesting to me to varying degrees but there is type of system that is the most interesting.

I am of course talking about video game. My favorite games are tend to be A) incredibly complex systems with many different variables to consider,  B) turn based to give me a lot of time to consider what to do and C) the characters you play as grow more powerful and you have some choice in what areas the improve in and what skills they learn and D) a minimal amount of randomness, a little bit is okay but it shouldn’t have any affect in the long run, and victory and defeat shouldn’t ride on random chance.

Now I do like to play games that don’t have these elements but those are the ones that I like the best. It usually leads to a situation where you can “break” the game. This is a situation where a some powerful weapon or armor, or some ability of the player, or some combination of these elements renders the player so powerful that none of the enemies stand a chance. The game is effectively “broken” because you can’t really lose unless you try.

Now some people think a well balanced game shouldn’t ever be “broken” no matter what weapons or abilities you get you should still face a challenge. I disagree, I think breaking the game is the reward for understanding the system. Balancing the game is just a matter of how easy is it to break, not making it impossible to break. If there’s doomsday weapons lying around at the beginning of the game and the game is broken with no effort than it is poorly balanced. But if breaking the game requires using several different abilities together in such a way that only someone who deeply understands the system would think of, that is a better game in my opinion. A game that rewards people for understanding the system, and the better you understand it the more broken it is. While really powerful weapons and armor are nice to put in a game as a reward for some quest, that alone should not be enough to break the game, it should only augment the game breaking strategies that the player comes up with.

Now as I mentioned INTJs are well known for building systems and I have made a few attempts at making games and am continuing to do so, and the games started out simple but are now growing to somewhat interesting level of complexity. As I am making the game I try to go by my own beliefs about what makes a good game, a complex system that rewards people for understanding it. If people come up with some combination of abilities that breaks the game and makes it easy, I wouldn’t be terribly upset, in fact that’s what I want. Although I don’t want it to be too easy to break the game. No single ability should be too powerful, but if people find interesting ways to combine abilities, that’s great.

I would say designing interesting game systems is probably some of the most fun I’ve had, aside from playing in those systems of course. Although I’m not a huge fan of making graphics for the game, or even programming the user interface for that matter. I wish I could just design the rules for the game and nothing else, but the other parts of the game have to be built or no one an play it.