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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Indie RPG » Tactica: Maiden of Faith » Time Based Events

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March 12th, 2010, 08:55
We have implemented something we call TBE, time based events. This means that the world is evolving while you are playing, so if you arrive at a place at different times different things would happen.

So for example if you arrive at the museum it might be that the diamond is already stolen, or you could arrive before it was stolen, or you could arrive at the time of the theft.

How do you guys think about this kind of time based events? any ideas of cool such a events?
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March 12th, 2010, 09:47
A cool concept, but probably not very easy to implement. I think it would be most interesting in open world games, where you could influence the timing and details of various "big events" that drive the main story forward with the quests you play. Let's take Oblivions setting as an example . But this time, by default, an actual first invasion wave will happen after 20 game days, that will overrun a major city, killing most NPCs there. Unless you manage to infiltrate a certain Oblivion pocket and kill a Daedra general, which will gain you an extra 5 days. Or you successfully manage to stage a diversion in another city, which will give you 2 more days, and will reduce the number of attackers. Getting more days will allow you to complete quests that will improve the fortification of the city, and to bring in reinforcments. However, it will also trigger a new quest with a traitor that begins to operate within the city if there is no invasion on day 20. Etc. If the game allows you to join the evil side, you could do quests that allow the invasion to start earlier…
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March 12th, 2010, 11:32
I've just written a dialogue/ consequence sequence for the first part of a time based event. If you don't reach a particular place in time, you won't see the dialogue and options I just wrote, but one of two possible other options I'm still working on. If you come late to the party, your choices will be severely limited. Everything has consequences and stopping to do a side quest might mean you miss out on choices affecting the main quest.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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March 12th, 2010, 15:09
Time restrictions are not usually too popular. Remember how people complained about it in Fallout 1.

I'm ok with time based events as long as it's clear of when things are going to happen, so it's my choice to be there on time or not. I would hate it if I'm just playing normally my game smelling the flowers and come here and read that someone found a nice item or spell or skill in New Sanctorium, and when I get there I find I can't get it anymore.

If it only makes things harder or easier, it's ok, like in GG's example, if the diamond is not in the museum when I get there, then it'll take me longer to get it since I have to track it down, but I'm not missing on anything in the long run.
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March 12th, 2010, 15:17
Generally not a fan of those. I don't like having to drop everything to focus on a timed quest. Besides, it tends to railroad the player since they get boxed into doing things in the order the designer plans or risk missing some "appointment".

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March 12th, 2010, 15:27
Basically the game will play differently depending on what you choose to do, to get to a certain place at a certain time may or may not be a disadvantage for different events, they will just happen in a variety of ways.

There are two reasons I wanted these events. The first reason is ( of course this might just be me ) that I really get tired of games where everyone is saying like…. OOO the world is ending it is a great urgency, and then the PC chars goes to the inn and drinks coffee and sleeps for 30 days to recover from everyting.

The seconds reason is replayability and strategical choices… do I stay to save my lieutenant risking to be late to the kings party and losing my face to the king?

The benefit is I still have my lietenant which can help me later in the game, but I lose face with the king…. which work to my disadvantage…

I know from the other thread though you guys prefer a linar long game, over this kind of game. I am hoping when you try it out you'll change your opinion… because I really think this sort of thing is great fun!
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March 12th, 2010, 16:39
You're killin' me, GG.

The good news is that I'm getting more and more convinced that gamers don't really know what they want anymore. And that includes me. We want replayability, but we never replay. We want non-linear plots as long as there aren't any branches. We want choice-n-consequence as long as it doesn't keep us from doing what we want. We want 100+ hour epics as long as they don't take too long. We want interesting NPCs but we don't want to read NPC dialog. We want a free form sandbox but it has to have structured quests. We want extensive evil options, but our first (and generally only) playthru will be good.

So, in the end, build your game as you see fit. If it's a good game, I doubt too many people will get hung up if it doesn't match exactly what we say we want.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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March 13th, 2010, 00:29
Dte, I love your summary of gamers. It's SPOT on and should be published somewhere!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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March 13th, 2010, 00:45
I wanted to work in something like, "We demand hard core games, but we've beaten Plants Vs. Zombies three times." but I figured I'd already made my point. And I really like PvZ, dammit.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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March 13th, 2010, 05:49
I'm generally not a big fan of timed events either. It's just another way for the developer to railroad the player down their linear path. If a crpg is too linear, I try to stay away. Divinity II was great fun in the open Broken Arrow area. Once the developers started railroading the player down the storyline it became a bore. They even had a nagging voice that constantly harped at you to get on with the book.

As far as GG's idea for a game, who knows? Build your engine, your combat and magic pieces, your inventory, alchemy, rest/heal etc. Until you have that, your story and quests are meaningless. If these have already been coded, forgive me. Nearly anyone with a little imagination can tell a story. Until the programming has been done, there's nothing to hang the story on anyway. It's more important to answer whether you can build a game before worrying about whether you can tell a tale. Have you created a timing system (day/night, hours/minutes weeks/months/years?) in your gameworld? If not, your question is premature.

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March 13th, 2010, 10:59
You're killin' me, GG.

The good news is that I'm getting more and more convinced that gamers don't really know what they want anymore. And that includes me. We want replayability, but we never replay. We want non-linear plots as long as there aren't any branches. We want choice-n-consequence as long as it doesn't keep us from doing what we want. We want 100+ hour epics as long as they don't take too long. We want interesting NPCs but we don't want to read NPC dialog. We want a free form sandbox but it has to have structured quests. We want extensive evil options, but our first (and generally only) playthru will be good.

So, in the end, build your game as you see fit. If it's a good game, I doubt too many people will get hung up if it doesn't match exactly what we say we want.
Í really like the feedback, I get from you guys, this post was pure brilliance. Basically I think what everyone does when they make games is brainstorming a lot, and after that they add the best stuffs. That's what Larian did, that's what Lionhead did that's what Ultima guys did.

I don't really think there is another way to make a new and somewhat unique game… otherwise you'll just copy what other people already got.

I think DTE hit it spot on. Acctually I think that as long as the game is really good the gamers will not care whatever it is linar, open, closed, three-headed or whatever else They'll play it because it is fun.

If you have any fun ideas for time based events just spill them out, and I'll see what I can do GhanBuriGhan is the one to come up with something constructive so far!

Have you created a timing system (day/night, hours/minutes weeks/months/years?) in your gameworld? If not, your question is premature.
Of course it is in the core of this game that time passes. At the night fighting it'll be real dark, but the option to summon really cool looking flares are already there
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March 14th, 2010, 07:38
To be honest, I can't recall ever playing a game with timed events such as this. Yes, there are plenty with timed events, like the Death Snares in Bard's Tale 2. But you DIE if you run out of time there, or in other games simply fail.

I had a similar idea, but abandoned it simply because of (amusingly) time constraints. It takes a lot more to develop properly. But then, I'm solo, and you have a team. I just hope Corwin doesn't develop and write like he plays DDO. (Where are you at? I went down the wrong way. AH! a spider is killing me, oh I'm dead. Someone get my soulstone.) j/king

For the stolen diamond example, you have several options you have to consider:
Showing up before the theft, but leaving. This gives the thief someone to frame.
Showing up before the theft, and stealing it. You still get blamed, fairly though.
Showing up before the theft, and staying until the thief gets there. From here, you can either stop the thief, or steal the diamond and set him up to take the fall.
Showing up shortly afterward, and using clues left to track the thief down. This can branch into you returning the diamond, or hocking it. It can also branch by killing vs turning in the thief.
Finally showing up long afterward, when all the clues have been trampled by inpept inspectors, and you have to go on less information. Which either leads to failure to find the thief, or the above two options.

5 main options, three of which have 2 or more branches (and two which can lead to multiple branches in the main branches). Then you have to consider the end effects (party reputation, quests given later or not given later, being chased by dogs and grues, etc).

I wish you well on it, since I want to see how it'll turn out. And DTE nailed it perfectly. Just look at the firestorm Sonic 4 is getting. First return to decent platforming and the series roots, and they're mad because his eyes are GREEN. And the rings are too big. And the BBEG is named Eggman instead of Robotnik.

So make your game how you want to make it. Do your best, and fully expect to be criticized over incredibly stupid things.

It was the night before Hogswatch…

I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity - Edgar Allan Poe
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March 15th, 2010, 19:19
An interesting idea.

In my opinion I think it would be fun to make hints towards the player's character that something indeed is depending on what you do in time.
Other things might perhaps not be so obvious and act rather as some kind of surprise or even "easter egg" for when the player plays through the game a second or a third time.

On a side-note, this might give dialogues much more lif, too. Something like "I didn't expect you so early" or "our new wares haven't arrived yet" perhaps combined with an "but we are expecting them to be here tomorrow".

Other events could be some kind of games … Like football, for example : "How's been the match ? Did I miss it ? How did they play ?"

Or even something like : "You're too late: Our wine has become vinegar !"

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March 15th, 2010, 19:50
Well you may know my opinion on deadlines in games from the other thread.

I don't like them.

I like the idea of a living world that dynamically changes over time, but I strongly dislike having the game choose for me the order in which to do things.
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March 16th, 2010, 02:11
It's not choosing the order you do things, just saying that world events will continue to happen, with or without you. Think about it:- There's an enemy army marching towards your city and it's 2 days away. Your forces march out to meet it and YOU are supposed to be the person co-ordinating the troops. NOW, if you decide to do a few other things which take 3 days of game time isn't it reasonable to assume that you have MISSED the battle you were supposed to direct? The troops wouldn't wait for you in the real world and they don't wait in this one. If you're not there ontime, the battle still takes place without you and the consequences of your not being there will have to be worn!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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March 16th, 2010, 04:18
Could you guys name some great timed quests that you've played and what made the time-limitation special? Let's make sure that your answers come from crpgs only. I'm really trying to come up with a game that had a fun, timed quest. If you can't come up with some good ones, then I'd stay away from the idea. I certainly wouldn't make it a common theme. Well, unless you really don't want anyone playing your game. One badly implemented idea can completely kill a game. Beyond Divinity is a prime example. Divinity 2 blundered as well, but the devs were bound and determined to go away from what works and try something different. Have you heard anyone say that their favorite part of D2 is the dragon combat? I didn't think so.

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March 16th, 2010, 04:33
I prefer fun over realism (in my games, at least), but that's just me.
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March 16th, 2010, 09:13
Could you guys name some great timed quests that you've played and what made the time-limitation special?
Depth of Peril and it worked well many people considered it fun part of the game. It has a lot of these quests, like kidnappings, towns be attacked etc. I appriciate the critisicms though, it is at least as valuable as ideas and praise!

prefer fun over realism (in my games, at least), but that's just me.
I agree with you, however I think a living world where the time passes are more fun than a static boring worlds ( That might just be me )

We'll have to wait and see how you guys will think about these things. But the TBE stays they are too fun to remove

Divinity 2 blundered as well, but the devs were bound and determined to go away from what works and try something different.
Well, I happen to know that for Divinity 2 the devs where thinking wow it would be really cool if the main char turned into a dragon… and after that they tried it and it looked so cool when he turned into a dragon that they decided it has to be there. However they did not put enough consideration into the gameplay and development costs aspects, so the dragon part kind of become a negative to the game instead.
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March 16th, 2010, 18:46
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
Could you guys name some great timed quests that you've played and what made the time-limitation special?
The TDE game "Blade Of Destiny" has such a thing : You'll have to chase away the Orcs, or they'll come and run over Thorwal … Game over, then …

The quest of chasing them away is the great, big main theme of the game. However, the time frame is so good, so wide that the party is able to do everything - including research - without having to hurry too much.

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March 20th, 2010, 21:33
Blades of Avernum has some bundled scenario and one is related to time event. It gets many negative comments in forums. For me it's been my favorite of those bundled.

In this scenario, you start knowing there's a day limit, you have to help an outpost. To reach it in time you'll have to travel through an unexplored land. Resting in the game cost time and travel time depends of some parameters. Also during your travels there are multiple events that can make you lost or win time.

Myself the first time I played it I arrived one day too late, but I didn't really lost the scenario as there was an ending in this case too and even a final battle.

I take back a save and replayed it an believed fail again but arrived the day before the limit and get an alternate ending with a successful outpost saving.

It's been thrilling fun, but well the player is very dependent of some events not easy to control precisely. For example a skill could help you not lost but there's a random part in how many day you lost if you get lost. By searching help you could find some shortcut making you save a lot of travel time, but you could also explore deeply some area and lost a significant time in travel and resting for no result for help your travel speed.

The fastest way aren't straight forward travels but it's not easy to find the better choices, even if you get some hints. One you know better the scenario its then very easy to arrive in time.
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