ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:25 am 
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Higher

Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:54 pm
Posts: 65
I've mentioned it a couple times, but I haven't detailed out much of the module I'm working on. Major work on the module is on hold until I can get some decent documentation written up on everything, but I still make minor tweaks and such to say I've made progress.

Major goals:
-Morality-based game, with an actual purpose to tracking morality besides one line in the ending. Includes appropriate afterlives for characters good, evil, or utterly unconcerned. Think less Fable/BioWare morality, more Ultima 4/5/6 morality.
-New fantasy world, avoiding the most common tropes of fantasy games.
-full graphical tileset, and music for most of the game.

I started by taking the ToME 3.0.0 module, and tearing out everything that specifically referenced Middle-Earth. That's done for monsters, quests, and items currently. The map has yet to be replaced, as re-doing the map is going to take some time, both in effort to craft it and to fully design up the world to make it look reasonable. I preferred to start from the existing module so that I could edit pieces and not have to worry about doing everything at once to start playing the game, instead making and tweakings things with enough of an existing game to get a feel for my changes.

I'm currently working primarily on player races and sub-races, and items are probably next after that. I am working a friend on most of the project for feedback on my ideas. Everything is still pretty sketchy, but we have a Google Wave full of ideas, lore, and notes on how everything we've thought of so far should go.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:09 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 2:08 am
Posts: 929
Location: Orange County, Ca
FACM wrote:
with an actual purpose to tracking morality besides one line in the ending.
Includes appropriate afterlives for characters good, evil, or utterly unconcerned.

Have you played Dragonball T? It has a moderately complicated system of afterlife with quests and events only available to dead characters, Heaven, Hell as well as a form of "purgatory" as visitible maps, multiple ways of bringing yourself back from the dead, and the option of continuing play as a disembodied ghost that can't interact with physical objects.

Quote:
more Ultima 4/5/6 morality.

Hmm. Ok. I'll request that it not be as horribly exploitable as Ultima 4 was. I usually played by robbing, killing and stealing everyone and everything, pillaging the castle treasure for tens of thousands of gold, buying up enough reagents to fill up every spell to 50+ stacks and not paying for them...and then wiping out all the bad karma by giving one gold to a beggar 40 times, repeatedly telling the same person "no, I'm not proud" etc.

Quote:
Major work on the module is on hold until I can get some
decent documentation written up on everything

What's left to be documented?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:45 pm 
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Higher

Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:54 pm
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LordBucket wrote:
Have you played Dragonball T? It has a moderately complicated system of afterlife with quests and events only available to dead characters, Heaven, Hell as well as a form of "purgatory" as visitible maps, multiple ways of bringing yourself back from the dead, and the option of continuing play as a disembodied ghost that can't interact with physical objects.


I have not. I've skimmed the module code very breifly, but that was mostly for descriptors and items. I will take a closer look at it sometime soon.

Quote:
Hmm. Ok. I'll request that it not be as horribly exploitable as Ultima 4 was. I usually played by robbing, killing and stealing everyone and everything, pillaging the castle treasure for tens of thousands of gold, buying up enough reagents to fill up every spell to 50+ stacks and not paying for them...and then wiping out all the bad karma by giving one gold to a beggar 40 times, repeatedly telling the same person "no, I'm not proud" etc.


I thought that Ultima 4 tracked all the virtues separately, and you couldn't get away with boosting up one to make up for another. The world I'm working on isn't very civilized, so the 'virtues' I'm working on won't be quite as romantic/idealized as the Ultima set. Individually, they probably won't lend themselves toward that same sort of perfect moral conduct, but tempered together they should be a pretty good guide.

I also haven't yet figured out exactly how I'm going to implement this in my world yet. A couple of basic ideas are sketched out but nothing screams out 'Im perfect! Use me!' yet.

Quote:
What's left to be documented?


I meant the documents I'm working on. They're going to be guides on how to make/edit modules. There's some help up on the wiki, but a lot of that isn't as helpful as it could be. I've made 6 posts to work out what I'm going to work on in what order (descriptors, maps, items, magic, other things, custom code). I've gotten the first 2 more or less complete and posted, and I'm partially done with the third so far.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:05 am 
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Halfling

Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 12:45 am
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You might want to read this post about Ultima IV's morality system. In short, you can grind most of the virtues straightforwarldy by repeatedly spending tiny amounts of money or by talking to people over and over again. The ones you can't grind will tend to max themselves out as you play regardless, and don't get dinged if you're a sociopath.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:30 pm 
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Higher

Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:54 pm
Posts: 65
Thank you for that link. That lets me see the issues with the U4 system pretty well. I can see a lot of flaws with that particular implementation, but I still think it's a lot better than anything modern games have done for morality.

I think that there could be 2 (and a half) 'easy' fixes for the easily-exploit system. I think the second one is a better fix myself, but 1 isn't too bad since

1: Increase the resolution of the counters. It goes from 1-100, and it looks like almost every adjustment actually occurs by 5s, making each virtue more or less a 1-20 counter. Ones that increase by 2s are a 1-50 counter. And you start out at the middle for each virtue, meaning you may only need to increase a virtue 10 times to be done with it. This could be the main reason why you can level cities and rob the blind, and then make up for it by giving away a tiny fraction of the money you just stole. Changing the counters to be, say, 10,000 and then starting them off half-way means that wiping out a town will drop your virtues a lot.
1a: To make this even more effective, putting a little bit of intelligence into the checks that boost your virtues would be a good way to make the weakest parts of the system a little better. For example, require the player to donate at least 1% of their gold to a beggar instead of any gold at all to increase their virtue. This wouldn't interfere with players that play the game with the virtues in mind, but if you pillaged and plundered and had a small kingdoms worth of currency you wouldn't be able to clear it up with 40GP of panhandler handouts. In this case, boosting the virtue by the smaller of gold_amount_donated OR gold_percent_donated, as long as gold_percent_donated is over 1%, would probably fix that exploit. Sure, you could wipe out a town and get rich, but you'd have to give away ALL of that gold to get back that virtue. Sure, the player could get rid of all of that gold except for the magic amount that gives you all your virtue back for a relative pittance that I'm sure is present in this quickly-elaborated scheme, but then why get it in the first place?

2: Add in anti-virtue counters, and track both actions separately. This way, when you give money, it boost the virtue, but stealing boost the anti-virtue. These shouldn't both be visible by the player. Perhaps subtract the anti-virtue from the virtue when the player checks their stats (if they're allowed to see these stats). We could compare both sets of actions here, and say that as long as virtue > antivirtue and virtue is over some threshold, you count as virtuous. This isn't mutually exclusive from fixes 1 and 1a, but there's less need for then on this setup. Here, counter resolution mostly boils down to how much leeway the player has as far as immoral action go.


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