Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Games Entertainment

On Luck and Randomness In Games 156

Posted by Soulskill
from the real-men-use-the-railgun dept.
Gamasutra has an article analyzing random events in games, and how they can add or subtract to a player's experience. It looks at the different ways luck plays a part in games; from landing a critical strike instead of a miss to the scatter of a shotgun blast to waiting for that blasted straight piece in Tetris. "Game developers are sometimes faced with similarly challenging decisions when contemplating whether to include some kind of deliberate randomness. For example, in the video game Unreal Tournament, when a player shoots at a target with the 'enforcer' weapon, the projectile does not necessarily hit the point that is aimed at; a random deviation is added that scatters shots. This introduces a degree of realism from an observer's perspective and no doubt gives beginners a fair chance against more experienced players, but it can also potentially frustrate skilled players."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

On Luck and Randomness In Games

Comments Filter:
  • by playerone (903173)

    Its always good to see that people who matter are actually thinking about ways to overcome obstacles.

    It also annoys me greatly when a steady handed and well aimed sniper round misses by a algorithm calculated bees proverbial.

    • by sykes1024 (1159247) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @03:10AM (#26071683)
      Even irl there's such a thing as wind, and even differences in air temperature along the path of travel can affect the path of the bullet. Not to mention irl you have to lead ahead of a moving target and account for the fact that the bullet will fall a bit on its way. :)
    • There's no physics reason that bullet paths can't be plotted accurately to include gravity, wind, humidity, etc...computers are great at that sort of thing. Instead, you either get ramrod-straight bullets (or Panzerfausts, I'm looking at you, Wolf:ET) or an algorithm that scatters the bullets without regard to aim.

      My belief is that people who make games about firearms have never actually used them, and any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. You pull the trigger, the bullet

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        There's no physics reason that bullet paths can't be plotted accurately to include gravity, wind, humidity, etc...computers are great at that sort of thing.

        Sure there is. It's called limited computing resources. Collision tests involving parabolas and volumetric effects are far more costly than simple line-primitive collision tests.

        • Sure there is. It's called limited computing resources. Collision tests involving parabolas and volumetric effects are far more costly than simple line-primitive collision tests.

          Then don't use the parabola in the collision test. Compute the parabolic trajectory 60 times a second, and then use the line segment between this frame and the next as the path for collision tests.

          • How does that help? If a bullet fired horizontally from shoulder height takes a half of a second to fall, that's still 30 times as many calculations.

            • If a bullet fired horizontally from shoulder height takes a half of a second to fall, that's still 30 times as many calculations.

              If someone's shooting a slower weapon such as propelled grenades [wikipedia.org], your simulation has to calculate the path of those 60 times a second anyway. So why not just make bullets a subclass of the same projectile class used for RPGs, hand grenades, etc.?

            • In these days of games with crazy amounts of particles and other objects flying around with fairly realistic physics calculations (via just the CPU, phsyics cards, and now graphics cards with physics APIs) in a lot of games, I think your "limited resources" argument is a little silly. I expect even the Nintendo DS could handle a game with vaguely realistic bullet trajectories.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Muad'Dave (255648)

        Amen to that. Exterior ballistics is quite complicated. I deal with bullets at 4000 fps, and I can tell you that predicting the performance of any particular powder brand+load/primer/bullet shape+weight/barrel combination is next to impossible.

        If you want an overview of exterior ballistics, read this [exteriorballistics.com] treatise. Specifically, this section gives the horribly complex equations of flight. Note that the ballistic coefficients [exteriorballistics.com] are determined empirically, and any particular bullet has different BCs for different v

      • by uncledrax (112438)

        Actually some games do (factor in at least rudimentary ballistics like BC), (looking at you RO).. most games do not or they use a cone-of-fire mechanism to 'approximate' it.

        Many of the games out there today have fairly short engagement distances.. at those short distances, the return on stuff in all those ballistics is pretty minimal.. as a programmer I would probably not even bother calculating ballistics at such distances, or fall back to a simple Cone-of-Fire setup.

        One of the other things about war games

  • FFXI (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chlorus (1146335)
    I used to play FFXI, but one of the things that eventually drove me away from the game was the randomness of nearly everything. It was irritating to go nearly 0/10+ (and I've heard horror stories of worse) on rare item drops while Billy teh n00b would get it on first drop. Oh, and there's nothing more fun than fighting a hard fight and getting nothing as a reward. I can understand the developer's desire to keep certain items rare, but such low drop rates aren't the way to do it. I would have preferred they
    • But, harder fights won't accomplish that goal of making them rare. Players will just get better.

      The drop rate is just as crude, but at least there, you've got the possibility of cheating and completely arbitrating it -- of setting a drop rate by some unit of time, say, or as a percentage of the player base, rather than simply a percent chance on every attempt.

    • by RogueyWon (735973) *

      Ohhhh... the joys of camping Leaping Lizzy. I spent so many hours running around that small sloped patch of South Gustaberg. It got to the point where I had 18 kills and not a single drop of those stupid boots. I swore never to camp her again.

      The next week, I'm running through the area on a chocobo and she spawns right in front of me. I dismount, get the pull and she drops the damned boots. The next day, I go back out there with a couple of friends and we get two more pairs.

      After that, I had a run of the mo

      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        I was on my way to North Gustaberg, I was playing 3rd view and Leaping Lizzy popped right behind me. If I had been playing in 1st view I would've missed it.

        This was the first time I ever saw it. I managed to kill it and got the boots. I bet your really hate me now.

        ----

        Okay, how about this then: a few days ago I was in a party of three, and we were leveling in that area. We were, of course, killing lizards, just in case we might make LL pop. One of the guy seemed to be AFK, but what the heck, we kept fightin

    • by Cowmonaut (989226)

      I'm having a similar experience in WAR currently. There is a set piece you can only get from doing Keep Sieges. Since I started trying to get it in my tier (tier3) they've even made it so 3 'loot bags' that you can select it from are guaranteed to drop and I've yet to win it. Currently at 51 Keep Sieges.

      These are sieges that for the most part I've organized and lead, which is fairly exhausting when they are PUGs. Something about getting 24 complete strangers pointed in the same direction and willing to

    • by lupis42 (1048492)
      That was part of what caused me to abandon WoW as well. The whole "collect 10 of X where X has a 60% drop chance on these creatures" mean I should have to kill appx 15-16 of the stupid critters, not 20, 30, or in one case 50.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by canajin56 (660655)

      It's got much worse than leaping lizzy and valk. emperor! (Though I know a guy with multiple 75s but still no leaping boots). In Salvage, a 2 hour event, there are certain items from certain monsters that have a horrific drop rate. We're talking 0/142 or more. If split evenly between the 4 areas you can go, we're talking over a year of doing this same event 2 hours every single night, and getting NOTHING. Not just you didn't get it because somebody else did, but your group has still never even seen it

  • by bazald (886779) <bazald@zeniDEBIANpex.com minus distro> on Thursday December 11, 2008 @02:42AM (#26071517) Homepage

    I recently had the opportunity to hear Sid Meier talk about random events in the Civilization series. It is unfortunate that this article doesn't mention any of his insights regarding player's psychology when it comes to "luck".

    Apparently the average player expects to win regularly, even if probability allows for long strings of losses. If you lose two even fights in a row in a game of Civilization, you are literally guaranteed to win the third, IIRC. This is how their "karma" system is implemented.

    Additionally, players expect a fight of 30 vs 20 to be much more of a sure thing than a fight of 3 to 2, even though the ratio is the same. Apparently you ought to get some sort of boost when the numbers are higher in order to satisfy most players. This actually makes a degree of sense to me, because I would expect the variance to be less in the first case, but he didn't address the issue and I didn't ask.

    This article gives an interesting categorization of the types of randomness and luck that can exist in games, but it appears to do little to address these ideas. This is too bad, really. It might be interesting to see how these hacks affect these probabilistic features of Civilization according to their charts.

    • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @03:04AM (#26071647) Homepage Journal
      In actual combat though, 30 vs. 20 tends to have a higher win rate than 3 vs 2(with good commanders anyway). 30 people gives you a lot more freedom to implement various tactics that would be impossible or impractical with just 3 people.
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        In actual combat though, 30 vs. 20 tends to have a higher win rate than 3 vs 2(with good commanders anyway). 30 people gives you a lot more freedom to implement various tactics that would be impossible or impractical with just 3 people.

        For a start, you can deploy 19 of yours versus 19 of theirs so they're equally matched, which leaves you 11 against their remaining 1. And so on.

    • And thats why I and everyone I know haven't played civilization since 3 came out. Seriously that game has not changed at all, which means with greater understanding and computer power means it has actually gone backwards. As a kid playing civ I knew it wasn't realistic, but I forgave them becuase of the limitations at the time. Now it's gotten simpler, and they have no excuse.

      The way the cities grow piss me off the most. Historically if you look at city growth the cities and country side tended to suppor
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by meringuoid (568297)
        Do they really expect me to believe that it takes 120 years to build a library?

        Maybe not. But how long does it take to write all the books that go into it? The building 'library' is a token representing the development in that city of an intellectual elite that considers ideas to be things worth writing down, storing safely and making available to others.

        And anyway, if you want a building and don't want to wait for it, you're an ancient-world ruler. Get out your whip! Cities with a granary and decent fo

      • by TempeTerra (83076)
        <blockquote>I'm tired of Sid Meier's civilization, I want to play Jared Diamond's civilization</blockquote>

        It would be great fun briefly to see it play out, but it wouldn't be a great game. The Eurasians got a bigger continent with a large band of temperate farmland, consequently better crops, animals and resistance to worse diseases. How would you create a game using JD's principles so that the native americans could win the encounter with europe?
        • That's easy enough; increase axial tilt by 90 degrees.

          Suddenly North/South America and Africa (possibly including Europe) become the long-axis continents, and Asia is buggered. Albeit, possibly not as buggered, as unlike North/South America, it doesn't narrow down to 10s of miles in the middle.

        • randomized maps, using fractals and simple weather systems and simulated continental drift to create the layout, it might take a few minutes to generate but worth it, and let the players run the game. China very well could have (and may still) been the dominant power, and if crops were randomized the Native Americans could have held a better chance for survival. Plus not all maps need to have two separate continents, and the Chinese were powned for years by the Europeans, but they are coming up, which is so
    • i wish the developers of Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos would have implemented these type of psychology hacks, or perhaps the problem is just that they use wau too much randomness, which really undermines the strategy element in a strategy RPG.

      Aedis Eclipse is different from other Strategy RPGs in that each of your party members is actually a captain commanding a set of units (from 10 to 30, depending on your rank). when you engage in a battle, you basically just choose a starting formation, which affec

    • This actually makes a degree of sense to me, because I would expect the variance to be less in the first case

      For samples of a normal distribution, the sample variance is f(samples)/n. That makes the deviation sqrt(f(samples))/sqrt(n).

      Whether you care about deviation or variance, the more points you sample, the less they deviate "on the whole" from what one might expect.

      [30 vs 20 -- or -- 3 vs 2]

      I'm no military tactician, but one might expect the gang of three to be able to perform maneuvers that a gang of thirty couldn't pull off; like, say, hide better, or sneak around, or attack the two from multiple directions.

      I'm not sure it's clear c

      • by Dunbal (464142)

        one might expect the gang of three to be able to perform maneuvers that a gang of thirty couldn't pull off

              And vice-versa. But at the end of the day, three people is ONLY three people. If one dies, you've lost 33% of your force. The more people you have, the more options you have. Numbers will usually always win, all other things (weapons, skill of the commander, etc) being equal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bokske (1429119)

      There is no need to add some sort of boost when larger armies battle it out, because the user's intuition about better odds is correct.

      I believe that Civilization defines a battle between two armies as a series of duels between a unit from either side. This goes on until one army has no units left anymore.

      Assuming even chances (50/50 in each duel), a 3-to-2 battle has 68% odds in favor, but a 30-to-20 battle has 92% odds. It has to do with the sample variance, like Jonas Koelker said.

      Likewise, a 5-to-4 batt

    • Apparently the average player expects to win regularly, even if probability allows for long strings of losses. If you lose two even fights in a row in a game of Civilization, you are literally guaranteed to win the third, IIRC. This is how their "karma" system is implemented.

      M.U.L.E. does something similar. Each of the four players is ranked throughout the game, 1st place through 4th place. At the beginning of each player's turns there is a ~25% chance of a random event, good or bad news for the player whic

    • by SharpFang (651121)

      In a fight of 30 vs 20 the chances ARE better for the stronger side than in 3 vs 2.
      The expected value is the same, the variance is different.

      Toss five coins. What is your chance that at least three show heads up? Now toss 50 coins. What is the chance that at least 30 of them show heads up?

    • by TempeTerra (83076)

      From gut feeling I would expect 30:20 to be much preferable to 3:2. It depends on how the combat system is implemented of course, but if I am told that my odds are 30:20 I interpret that as telling me something about the granularity of the combat system.

      I would expect a confrontation (especially in modern civ, with hit points rather than win/lose) to bea series of rounds. I would expect losing one round of 30:20 to cause the loss of some portion of strength, perhaps 3 points, and trigger another round at th

      • From gut feeling I would expect 30:20 to be much preferable to 3:2. It depends on how the combat system is implemented of course, but if I am told that my odds are 30:20 I interpret that as telling me something about the granularity of the combat system.

        I would expect a confrontation (especially in modern civ, with hit points rather than win/lose) to bea series of rounds. I would expect losing one round of 30:20 to cause the loss of some portion of strength, perhaps 3 points, and trigger another round at the new rate of 27:20 - still highly in my favour. Losing at 3:2 sounds much more likely to reduce the odds to 2:2 for the next round, which is merely even!

        In the system I imagine, battles with high values (30:20) will be much more likely to have the odds-on victor because losing one round merely triggers another round with slightly reduced positive odds. A low value battle (3:2) could be lost by one unlucky roll (now 2:2), a slightly unlucky roll (1:2) and then not being very lucky (0:2, dead)

        In the board game Risk, the odds change drastically with the number of units even when the ratios are the same. Attacking at 3:2 wins 36% of the time (due to defenders winning tie) but 6:4 wins 64% of the time; 30:20 wins 94% of the time.

    • Yep, players suffer from Hero Syndrome, or PC-itis. If they are outnumbered the enemy 3 to 1, they will of course always win because they have superior numbers and any enemy victory is clearly impossible with those odds. But if they are outnumbered 1 to 3, they still expect to win because, hey, they're the hero.

      Put another way, all victories by me are due to my superior skill and tactics. All wins by the opponent were due to luck and cheating.

      This also applies to casino betting, and thus Vegas thrives.

  • Look, game developers cannot have it both ways. Either they make it possible to have newbies have a chance against the experts and annoy the experts or they make it a game of skill and drive new users away from the experts. It sucks for the experts but they do find ways to win anyways if they have any real skill at all.
    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      > It sucks for the experts but they do find ways to win anyways if they have any real skill at all.

      Being able to find a way to overcome the imbalance doesn't make it less annoying.

      I wouldn't like to run in a competition where everyone faster than a certain speed must have an arm tied to their back. The possibility of the good runners winning anyway doesn't change the game's quality loss caused by the "balancing" manipulation.

  • in UT 99 and 2004 and probably the rest there's also that chain gun weapon. On regular mode that thing shoots like Helen Keller with a paintball gun. Seriously at about 20 feet they can be up to about 5 feet off target. But you don't rely on luck yo hit what you're hitting from a long distance with that gun, you do what you're supposed to and only use it short range, duh! That's why it shoots so poorly, it's a short range weapon! Same the the enforcer really. Use the sniper or lightning gun or even th
  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Psychotria (953670) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @02:52AM (#26071585)

    For example, in the video game Unreal Tournament, when a player shoots at a target with the 'enforcer' weapon, the projectile does not necessarily hit the point that is aimed at

    Personally I think it does the exact opposite. I think Far Cry 2 *may* have done this. But if I line up a head shot (sniper) and put a bullet in the AIs head and he doesn't die, then this makes it seem far less realistic to me--especially when I let loose two shots to be sure and then aim down for a direct body shot and the guy still somehow manages to stand.

    Randomness is good, but I don't think making bullet paths random is great. Sure, in real life there is random wind and other influences (projectile shape/smoothness, the barrel, and all that), but at the distances (and speed of projectile) I am talking about it's negligible. Two direct head shots and a just-for-fun/'cause-I-can body shot in quick succession should not fail just to add 'randomness'.

    • Re:No (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rm999 (775449) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @03:50AM (#26071881)

      The enforcer in Unreal Tournament is a quick-fire weapon, so it's not comparable to a sniper rifle - in far Cry, if you spend 5 second lining up the perfect snipe and it misses because rand(t) = 0.5 instead of 0.1, I understand your frustration.

      On the other hand, Unreal Tournament uses randomness to add a level of strategy to the game, rather than pointless realism. You can shoot the enforcer in "primary" mode, which is a semi-accurate but slower shot. Or, you can shoot in "secondary" mode, where you shoot twice as quickly, but half as accurately. Think of it as a dynamic shotgun, where the gun sprays all over the place. In this case, randomness was truly the best way to implement the spray.

      The game would be boring if this gun (or any of the automatics, for that matter) always hit the target dead on - the opponent would die from 20 bullets in less than a second. Instead, the player has to plan out his distance from the opponent and his path so he has enough time to do some damage.

    • by Jim Hall (2985)

      Personally I think it does the exact opposite. I think Far Cry 2 *may* have done this. But if I line up a head shot (sniper) and put a bullet in the AIs head and he doesn't die, then this makes it seem far less realistic to me--especially when I let loose two shots to be sure and then aim down for a direct body shot and the guy still somehow manages to stand.

      A lot of games let you put the gun into "aimed" mode, also called "iron sights" mode. It's a lot more accurate that way. Resistance 2 does this. When fired in normal mode, the shot has quite a bit of randomness to it - using "iron sights", the shot is almost dead-on.

      I think this adds appropriate realism to the game. I play as though normal mode is "firing from the hip". Good when you need to make quick progress (walking) and need to be ready. But when you have the opportunity (behind cover, etc) switching t

  • Hunters (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bananatree3 (872975) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @02:53AM (#26071589)
    A skilled hunter can still miss a shot, and will be frustrated when the game gets away. If realism is the goal, getting the perfect shot the first time is not the way to go.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by misof (617420)
      WTF? A hunter can miss a shot because the game catches his scent and gets away. A hunter can miss a shot because his hand slips a little before pulling the trigger. For _some_ weapons and _some_ distances things like gusts of wind may play a role, but most definitely not always. In a computer game, pointing/clicking two pixels to the left of your opponent is the equivalent to the hunter's hand slipping. And this is when you miss, even with a "perfect" weapon. Nobody guarantees you that in the heat of action
      • by kabocox (199019)

        WTF? A hunter can miss a shot because the game catches his scent and gets away. A hunter can miss a shot because his hand slips a little before pulling the trigger. For _some_ weapons and _some_ distances things like gusts of wind may play a role, but most definitely not always. In a computer game, pointing/clicking two pixels to the left of your opponent is the equivalent to the hunter's hand slipping. And this is when you miss, even with a "perfect" weapon. Nobody guarantees you that in the heat of action

  • Uh huh... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by djupedal (584558) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @03:02AM (#26071633)
    Game devs would be well advised to remember they are creating a G A M E - not an alternate reality.

    They are subject to the same limitations as story tellers, song writers and actors...their imaginations.
    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      > They are subject to the same limitations as story tellers, song writers and actors...

      Talent? Skill? Intelligence? Empathy with their public?

      > their imaginations.

      I can perfectly enjoy a story told, a song written or a character interpreted with no imagination whatsoever.

  • You think that's random? Try playing Wesnoth!

  • To me as an individual i always enjoy it when when a random event occurs and it helps me. Conversely i always hate it when a random event occurs that hinders me. Im not sure why more game designers dont realize this simple fact of human nature. A real world comparison of this would be doing some auto repair. Some individuals enjoy it most individuals would be happy if they found 10 bucks under there car once they had it up on a jack. Not too many people would be too happy if some jerk randomly came over and
  • WoW combat table (Score:4, Informative)

    by nekozid (1100169) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @03:34AM (#26071777)

    Example 4 - A player of World of Warcraft shoots accurately and delivers a Critical Strike. (Once a strike is successfully inflicted on an opponent within World of Warcraft, it has a probability-based chance of inflicting double damage; any such Critical Strike that occurs is reported to the player by an on-screen text message.)

    Except that isn't true. The result of an attack is derived from a single roll. It gives rise to the property of defense being able to 'push' critical strikes off of the combat table by raising the chance to be missed, as the roll needed to score a critical cannot occur.

    Yes I have no life.

    • by glavenoid (636808)

      Except that isn't true. The result of an attack is derived from a single roll. It gives rise to the property of defense being able to 'push' critical strikes off of the combat table by raising the chance to be missed, as the roll needed to score a critical cannot occur.

      If that is indeed true, then I applaud you! That kind of dedication to the minutiae of gaming is laudable.

      Yes I have no life.

      Well, when you get one, I'm sure your knack for details will do you well :-) Really!

    • This is not actually 100% true. Many attacks are based off a two roll system, not a single roll system, and the number of attacks that are based of a two roll system seem to have been increased with the release of WOTLK. Of course, the article seems to be poorly written, unless they have input from the devs, since many of the two roll mechanics are not well understood at this point, being very very new and not well tested yet.
      • by nekozid (1100169)
        Well that's more of a band-aid for certain mechanics more than a general rule. I could of course be pedantic and say those are 3 roll attacks, due to damage ranges, at the risk of collapsing my original argument.
  • So much about how to use and manipulate randomnes to fit all tastes, and so little about randomness itself.

    Some people simply like randomness. Some people enjoy a game of "highest result in the dice wins". Some people hate go or chess because they lack randomness.

    Then there are people who like wading through a higly random environment in games like poker, where the number of hands reduce the randomness to a homogeneous atmosphere.

    It's not possible to make a single game be go and dice. You can't add both ran

    • by glavenoid (636808)

      People are competitive. It's a survival instinct, although some types of competition seem rather irrelevant (male member length in particular)[Preemptive Citation Needed]. Some people equate "luck" with "survivability".

      Skilled competition is one thing. If it takes a modicum of thought, or physical stamina then the game is on. But that is only really "fair" if all competing parties are of the same "level" of skill -- whether that be physical or mental (or whatever). A chess neophyte really doesn't stand a c

    • It's not possible to make a single game be go and dice. You can't add both randomness and it's lack to a game, to appeal every target.

      I guess one of the problems with many videogames is that the same game (or game genre) can by played by people with totally differing skill levels.

      Not even necessarily playing at the same time. But just playing in general.

      The problem this raises is that for the highly practiced and skilled FPS gamer, they want it to be Go or chess. They have the decent screen, the precision controllers, and the decent hand-eye coordination. When the cross-hairs match up, it hits. Because they are (genuinely) that good, and

      • If it's casual-gamer-only, they get lots of instant sales but it might not have as undiring a long-term appeal as the more advanced gamers won't contunue to buy/mod/play it too much beyond the next big release.

        Which, as long as we're not talking about subscription games, isn't really a problem, because once you've bought the game, the developer/publisher doesn't really care whether you play the game for an hour or for a year; they already have your money. Of course, there are advantages to making games last longer (e.g. you are more likely to buy from that developer in the future, more likely to give a positive review and get others to buy it, etc.), so this is mitigated somewhat.

  • Random? (Score:5, Funny)

    by ChinggisK (1133009) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @03:56AM (#26071919)

    waiting for that blasted straight piece in Tetris

    Random? That isn't random. It comes right after you block off the slot you were saving for it.

    • waiting for that blasted straight piece in Tetris

      Random? That isn't random. It comes right after you block off the slot you were saving for it.

      Then why didn't you use the hold box to save an I tetromino? And why aren't you exploiting the fact that pieces come in groups of seven, one of each shape [pineight.com]? You must be thinking of Bastet.

      • by spyder913 (448266)

        You must be playing a newer version of Tetris. The page you linked there talks about games post-2001. What about the NES, Gameboy and early PC versions, that were the craze and didn't have those features?

        • What about the NES, Gameboy and early PC versions, that were the craze and didn't have those features?

          Those versions are no longer in print, and it appears The Tetris Company might not even let them go back into print. For instance, instead of putting Tetris for NES or N64 on Virtual Console, Nintendo had Hudson develop a new WiiWare game based on the Tetris Guideline. (In Russia, the party finds YOU!) And Tetris Worlds for Game Boy Advance has the new Guideline randomizer.

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      I bought a handheld version of Tetris (under a different name) from RadioShack and discovered I could actually induce the game to only give me straight pieces. It apparently used the time it took the piece to fall to determine what the piece after the next would be. If you allowed straight pieces to drop at their own rate to hit the bottom standing upright, it would always give you straight pieces. Drop it faster or not upright or on anything else and the next-next piece would change. As long as you didn't

  • Valve likes to implement the random factor into their games a lot lately, much to my dismay. Going from Day of Defeat to DOD:Source had a large dumb-down to the gameplay, and far more random weapon spray to benefit newer/bad players.

    Similar could be said about Counterstrike after the first few post-release patches. It was originally a good mix of realism and deathmatch with a Rock-Paper-Scissors balance. With the patch after 1.3 it basically became "Riflestrike" if you actually wanted to be competitive.

    Then

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Rutefoot (1338385)
      Team Fortress' randomness is more structured than you'd think. Critical chance goes up as you play well and down as you play poorly. While it might piss you off from time to time, it tends to have an overall positive affect on gameplay.

      It's part of Valves 'Forward Momentum' system. The problem of many other games is evenly matched teams will often result in stalemates while unevenly matched teams will result in the weaker team being crushed over and over. Valve has addressed that issue by rewarding t
  • Of course the enforcer is random. The chance of the enemy surviving is pretty high.

    OTOH the chance of survival of enemy surviving a hit by a volley of 6 rockets is exactly zero, no matter what his armor, health or other bonuses. That's why I don't use enforcer.

  • by SharpFang (651121) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @08:26AM (#26073297) Homepage Journal

    ...the primary killers of motivation to explore.

    Why should I climb the tallest tower in the furthest castle, if I get the same stuff as from the chest behind the entrance door?

    Why should I conquer the strongest enemies and explore their castle if I'm better off killing millions of rats, then open a chest in the tavern cellar?

    • Explore both? You get more chance of good stuff then.

      Though in games, not everything can be truly random, as otherwise a string of bad luck can ruin the player's perception of the game. Likewise, a string of good luck can make a game too easy.

      On a related note, I always hated oblivion due to the fact that the game levelled enemies everywhere up with you, so you didn't really gain anything by killing anything. Why bother levelling if it doesn't help you to kill anything because they all level too?

      • by SharpFang (651121)

        unless they all respawn.

        respawn is the third killer of immersion and motivation.

        That's what really discouraged me from Stalker. An enemy spawning right behind my back in a place I had checked to be empty, and killing me in one rapid burst from his gun.

        • by Twanfox (185252)

          I loved System Shock 2 for how it handled respawns. If you walked into an area and cleared it of enemies, it would stay clear as long as you stayed there. Enemies would always respawn in areas outside of where you were at, and usually at a slow pace to give that truly creepy "omg, I don't know where they're coming from next!" feel. It always kept you on your toes and enhanced that feeling of the environment closing in around behind you as you moved.

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      Why should I climb the tallest tower in the furthest castle, if I get the same stuff as from the chest behind the entrance door?

      Why should you release Schröedinger's cat from its box?

      RPGs should let you take the chest without opening it and sell it unopened. You could get more from selling a mystery box than you will from what's actually in it, especially if you hype up where you recovered it in the marketplace.

      Hell, if it just let you play back your campaign to get it to potential buyers (in the guise of relating the story), that would be cool in itself. It could even discourage farming.

      • by SharpFang (651121)

        in Oblivion: just before you grab the stone from the top of any oblivion towers, save.

        If you don't like what the stone contained, load, grab again, repeat until satisfied.

        It is undecided what the chest contains until you open it.

    • by kabocox (199019)

      Why should I climb the tallest tower in the furthest castle, if I get the same stuff as from the chest behind the entrance door?

      Because you are a completionist and there happens to be a percentage of found items and you just have to find 100% of every item in every dungeon that you come across. Not that you ever really "have to" just for those near worthless items.

      Why should I conquer the strongest enemies and explore their castle if I'm better off killing millions of rats, then open a chest in the tavern c

      • by SharpFang (651121)

        >>Because you are a completionist and there happens to be a percentage of found items

        No, they are entirely random and respawn after a while. I can raid the same ruin over and over, spending a week in a tavern in between the raids. There is no counter, there is just gold for sold stuff (which after a while becomes meaningless), and you won't find anything your current level doesn't allow for. And once you finally level up, the rats in the ruin will get stronger and give you more exp, and the loot will

    • by maglor_83 (856254)

      For fun? Novel, I know.

  • I can only add small tidbit from developer pov.

    Actually few games are truly random at low level. On many occasions I was faced with trivial matter that "pseudo" random numbers are not really all that random.

    The mentioned above problem is easily visible in aforementioned Tetris example and is direct result of poorness of random numbers.

    On one occasion, analyzing one source code, I have found clever trick with premade chains of "random" numbers: applying the chains twice (two level indexing), overal

  • I'm more annoyed with item drops in MMO's. Adding randomness to FPS games and using probability to do miss/critial strikes makes sense. It doesn't make the game so easy it's boring while adding a bit of realism. It is much cheaper (as in CPU time) to random a shot than to add wind and gravity into your game and compute a ballistic path.

    As for item drops, when you're in a group and you have to hope the item you want drops and then hope you win it, it gets frustrating; especially when everyone else is gett
  • by Spacelem (189863) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @12:00PM (#26075745)

    I recall that the original Doom did random amounts of damage (since the designers were also roleplayers). This was most evident for the berserk pack, where you might do the same damage as an ordinary punch, but occasionally your fist would cause demons to explode. Also the shotgun would usually kill an imp in one shot, but not always. I loved this style of randomness, as it makes the game a little different each time, and not completely deterministic.

    Meanwhile, I like the idea of adding a random direction to a shot fired. It means that a pixel perfect shooter doesn't always get his mark, but on average he'll still be more accurate than a poor shooter. I don't think I've ever heard anyone complain that their machine gun has spread, so unless it becomes too random, why worry if it affects the rest of the weapons? In real life there are plenty of factors that make guns not shoot the exact same spot every time.

    Finally, (being someone who enjoys tabletop roleplaying, and also a researcher who mainly deals with stochastic simulation), randomness is a great way to allow people to play games without substituting the character's abilities for the player's. If your character is supposed to be good at shooting, and you point him at an enemy, then he'll hit more often if he's good. If you give your mook a gun, don't expect him to shoot accurately just because you can move the mouse to the right spot, because your character isn't very good at it. Conversely, he'll sometimes make a shot which is very difficult, but less often than the trained sniper (the same argument applies to other activities than shooting guns).

    Dedicated to randomness. Maybe.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

Working...