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  • February 2015
    Post: 1

    There's a common problem among games where you level your characters up to achieve higher status, that's where you focus so much on leveling you miss out on all the game has to offer.  Many big-budget games failed in part because everything before the max level was a blur, quest text skipped because everybody was in such a hurry to kill the next targets, artwork ignored because players were too focused on counting exp, and so on.

    While I know the current rapid advancement is temporary and you're going to work on more balance once the game is stable enough, I'd like to suggest something along the lines of "speed bumps" to advance levels.  These would be other requirements needed to level up other than raw experience points, such as certain difficult quests that require custom crafting to accomplish, constructing certain buildings, accumulating certain pets, sending captains out on certain missions, etc.

    Right now there's little to no reason to make most of the stuff in the crafting huts because everything will be obsolete as soon as you, and the building itself, level up.  This is a problem with most games.  Players feel like it's a waste of resources to do anything before they've maxed out.  A solution to this is to require new equipment to be crafted, found, won in battle or rewarded from quests.  

    Let's say you can't advance from level 3 to level 4 until you've made a level 3 wrist guard, completed a level 3 quest, sent captains out on three level 3 missions, have at least one tavern and harvester up to level 3, and have three pets.  This would require more work from the player but it would give them the time and opportunity to explore the world of Steam Bandits, become immersed and appreciate all there is to enjoy.  Now compare this to a routine accumulation of experience points and you can appreciate the advantages.

    Steam Bandits is a long-term game, not a race to the finish.  It would be more enjoyable overall if players had to build their way to advance along various avenues.

    Just a suggestion.
  • February 2015
    Post: 2

    DUDE! What if your exp/level was linked to the buildings on your island, too?! Like, each building had a "Landlord" point that accumulated as the exp does. Each cottage on your island gives you a one-time 2 LLP while it's there. If you replace one with a Townhouse, you now have 4 LLP. Did you use a custom color? Another LLP. You changed both custom colors? 2 LLP. Is your island full? Buy/obtain another one and build on it!
  • February 2015
    Post: 3

    Good idea.  You could add to that by using the crafting buildings to make stuff to improve your buildings.  Like you have to have a level 2 engineering hut to make the weed whacker needed to upgrade your cottage, or a level 5 blacksmith to shape the metal needed to make a level 6 glassworks.

    One problem with this is if you look at it as a whole.  You see this big mess of all these things that have to be done to reach top level and it looks impossible.  Fortunately in the game it's much easier to comprehend.  You click on your cottage and it tells you what's needed to level up, but no more.  If you don't like tactical thinking you can focus on one building at a time, or you can click on everything to get a shopping list of resources, quests and other requirements.
  • February 2015
    Post: 4

    Great suggestions!  Our current plan is to have crafting be an optional thing for players.  If a player wants to just focus on fighting their way through things, they'll be able to gear up, but not as quickly as they would if they craft their own gear.  Crafted gear will always be stronger than quest rewards, but weaker than boss loot.

    The other choice the player has to get gear is through captain missions.  There will be a type of mission (salvage missions) that captains can run to bring some gear back.  The quality of the gear will depend on how good that captain is at salvage missions.

    Another option for the player is to purchase gear from other players through their own player-run item shops.  We're still developing that system, so I'll probably share more about it later :-)

    We basically want to provide several routes for the player to progress, and let them choose how they wish to play.
  • February 2015
    Post: 5

    Offering different routes for advancement is a good idea, especially in more challenging games where players could get stuck due to a mini-game that prove to be too difficult. But Steam Bandits is casual, which brings up the potential problem of being too simple and easy to advance.  It's like getting into a rut: you log in, do something simple, log out, and before long you're at max level.  Many casual games use this formula and while they have good initial success inevitably fade out due to lack of interest.  You need to shake things up a bit to keep players interest.

    It doesn't have to be anything big, like "Conquer 500 islands with your pet" or "Make a million friends," though those should get an achievement badge.  Maybe something like bonus points for doing something specific.  For example, you could say that on level 10 you get bonus experience for crafting, then on level 11 you get bonus points for fighting, level 12 gives extra points for collecting pets.  Or maybe you could focus on different aspects of the game on a month-by-month system.  This month get bonus points for collecting pets.  Next month unlock a new pet by exploring islands.  Month after that get this spiffy steam-powered unicycle for writing a popular conversation tree on your island.

     Players aren't forced to do those things, they can still advance doing the same actions they're comfortable with, but it introduces more variety for them to explore, and would be a good way to bring in new features of the game.
  • February 2015
    Post: 6

    Actually, we've kind of been seeing the game as something more than casual lately.  The combat and RPG side of things has the same level of depth as a Nintendo DS game, and our upcoming changes to the town-building side are bringing it closer to Animal Crossing (which some might call casual, now that I think about it).  The angle we've been approaching stuff at is if a player likes games like Animal Crossing or Pokemon, they'll love Steam Bandits :-)

    For progression, we're actually making the player level less important.  Your level determines your combat stats and what gear you can equip.  We're basically looking at the player level as a RPG-side only thing.  Your level won't come into play in any of the town-building stuff.

    Instead, (by the next patch actually) we're adding the concept of Skills and Workers.  The player will have direct skills like pet taming, gathering, and social stuff.  Workers are NPC's you can find throughout the world that you can recruit and assign to your buildings (kind of like the new WoW expansion... though I actually had been sitting on this idea for a while from Tropico 3).  These workers are like captains that don't have a ship.  You can bring the worker into your party and have them fight, or assign them to a building like the Engineering Workshop.  As they craft stuff for you, their skill with that building increases.  You can also find items in the game to increase their skill level with a profession.  

    As a worker performs a task, they will get tired and need rest, this is where the houses come in.  Send your worker to a house to rest and they'll recover.  If they don't rest, they'll suffer a minor penalty to their skill level (which determines their chances of creating higher quality things).  If you let them rest enough at a house, they can get a rested bonus which boosts their skill level until they perform more tasks to tire them out.

    For example, when you build the Tailor Shop for the first time, you'll get a Tailor NPC for free that you can assign to that building.  If a building doesn't have a worker assigned, you can't use the building (since nobody is working there).  It will be VERY difficult to max out a profession on a worker, but not too difficult.

    We've neglected the town-building side of the game for a while as we focused on the combat and RPG stuff.  Only recently have I been able to sit down and apply my old designs to the rest of the town-building part of the game :-)

    Oh, the other advantage to this system is that it hinders botting (which we actually have seen a few of) by giving the player more control to min/max their productivity.  I'm sure someone can still write a bot for all of this, but we're going to make them be more creative than just making a click-bot :-p
  • February 2015
    Post: 7

    Oh, and the other side of it is that most adventuring players should keep up with crafting since they'll need to make things to keep up with the difficulty level.  They can either craft the gear themselves, or buy it off of other players.  They also should craft potions to help them in combat, or buy them from players.  Ooh yeah, did I mention we're adding player-run shops?   :-D
  • February 2015
    Post: 8

    Great!  Sounds like you've got this covered.  Anxiously awaiting the next patch.
  • June 2015
    Post: 9

    I'm new so maybe I'm overlooking things but one thing I'm missing when compared to Animal Crossing/ Rune Factory etc. games is that right now Steam Bandits is very linear .. most of those games are not. So why not make some things exclusive or dependent on each other? Decision making is a major part of RPGs as opposed to pure Town building (and might make those better, too) I get that you can choose a cog to gain battle skill, but even those can be switched around without penalties, so there is no lasting effect to how you spend your time at all.
    How about having cog/batlle skills that grow with use and some buildings that can only be build with certain reputations or skills in combination? 
    As well as a few quests, buildings and captains that you really need to choose between? with more than cosmetic differences? That would also make Players adn Islands more different from each other.
    I'm posting in this thread becsaue I think this would also combat this "racing to the top" issue becasue choices tend to make you stop and think for a bit :)
  • June 2015
    Post: 10

    Actually, only half of the COG system is in at the moment.  The other part of it involves skilling up with COG types (either Offensive, Defensive, or Utility), and the cog skill level will determine which cogs you can equip later on.  

    For example, a follower that you might find later on in the game could have a tanking cog and their Defensive COG skill at around 40, while their other cog skills are at 1.  They wouldn't be able to equip high level offense or utility cogs, but if the player wanted to, they could equip low level cogs on them and take A LOT of time to skill those categories up.

    On top of that, the higher the level of the cog, the higher the cost will be to remove it.  We're hoping this encourages experimentation early on, and makes cogs feel more permanent later on in the game.

    As for the linear nature of the game, that should only be for the main story areas (which is planned to be about 20-30% of the game's content).  Most stuff should be open ended and accessed through island beacons you get from missions (and later through faction vendors).  Oh also, there is a progression planned with missions sponsored by various factions in the game.  The more missions you do for a certain faction, the more content opens up for that faction, like vendors and more advanced missions for them.

    On the townbuilding side, everything is open ended once you finish the tutorial.  Right now there is only about 1/4 of the content we're planning for town stuff.  Coming soon will be crop farming, cooking, player shops, and more pet stuff.  With crops, most of them have VERY specific farming requirements.  Some will only grow in certain environments, and the player will be limited by how many islands they can colonize, so choices will need to be made that affect quite a bit.
  • June 2015
    Post: 11

    Sounds great, guys!

    Been absent as I'm looking for a new job whole I'm working in Unity to improve my skills in it, add them to my resume in the hope I'll get that darn job already!
    But let's get back to the game, shall we? I like the idea of COG level requirements and skilling as it offer more variety to the game, but the thing is that grinding should be fun and the feel the fact that you need item 'X' from grinding. I would say that crafting should yield items better than boss fights or have the boss drop a one time use blueprint.

    If you just wish to fight, no problem, but you won't have the best items. This way the crafters won't become obsolete.Another aspect would be do have the RPG part and town management go in two different directions or, if you have a great design for, have them merged. Unfortunately, I can't come with possible solution to this problem. The only thing I can come up with is to have player combat level and promotions. Let's say, if you want to access higher level stuff you'll need to be "worthy" for the next promotion that would require a certain amount of combat experience, certain buildings in your outpost (you can't get better without support) and offer some materials that you could only get from captain missions. Let's say these tasks will be offered by an NPC (Archi for example) and the materials will be used to upgrade your office on your main island. After doing so, you should be able to upgrade all of your other offices using gathered resources. While with factions it will be a similar story, but with standing requirements.

    Related with the "Crafting and Resource Gathering" thread now. Compare my idea with a mighty and well trained pirate crew. They may be able skilled to kill everything that moves, but not with wooden swords and toy arrows. An option would be to move to other player's islands and buy better gear, but with a limit. Let's say they buy a minigun, but have no idea how to use it. Same with a town builder; they have the knowhow and resources, but they lack the "unique" materials you may get from doing NPC combat island. They may buy it, but those new crafted items will have a combat level requirement. People should be able to enjoy the game to matter what style they choose to play, but shouldn't be able to become the best just by focusing on one part.

    Don't know how much sense I'm making, but I hope you get the basic idea. I don't know when I'll be able to make an in-depth scenario as that will require a lot of time. Unless I get lucky somehow! :D

    Well, hope everything will turn up fine, guys!
    Cheers and good luck!