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#1 2013-06-06 08:39:21

Telurides
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Registered: 2013-06-06
Posts: 2

Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

I have been looking forward to Castle Doctrine since Rock Paper Shotgun told me all about it pre-release.  I've been patiently waiting to play it since, with thoughts of building a house full of obstacles and traps.  I recently scraped up $8, and gave the game a few plays.  As a very experienced gamer, but a newbie to Castle Doctrine, here's what I experienced:

1. A trap/puzzle/defense game where everyone can see what I've got (except dogs). I can't even place a rug over a trap door to hide it.

2. A learning curve that must require far more than the couple of hours I put into it (wiki and game combined).

4. The frustration of being victimized over and over while trying to learn the game

3. The tedious task of trying to figure out exactly what it was other people were doing to be successful (complex wiring).

All of which makes it nearly guaranteed I'll never stick with it long enough to learn how to be really effective.  In essence, I logged into what I thought was going to be a home-defense/home-invasion game, and saw instead an electrician's schematic nightmare.  Perhaps I'm slow and I "just don't get it," but I don't think I'm the only one.  Then, perhaps this game just isn't meant to interest "people like me," but I'm not so sure that's it either.  Am I missing something so fundamental that it's breaking the game for me, or is that a fair assessment of the game as it stands?

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#2 2013-06-06 09:09:34

dalleck
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Registered: 2013-04-13
Posts: 250

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

You do make a fair point.

With this new update adding blueprints, designs have had to be turned up a notch, and thus houses now need to be a little, *ahem* convoluted to stay alive.

I myself dislike the complex wiring puzzles as well and usually don't even attempt them.


But after playing the alpha for many happy weeks now I can say that the game really isn't all that complicated.  But I also feel that you and many others have missed out on that learning experience which we had in v5 when the elements were new to most players and we were creating simpler houses.  Then someone discovered the electric-floor-dog-trap and it all went downhill from there smile


The rich aren't safe. Nobody is safe. -jere                   ...but the smell wafts out from the pit, obviously. - Jason Rohrer

And the more dickish they are, the more I feel like beating a house to destruction after finally figuring it out. -bey bey

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#3 2013-06-06 10:22:30

jearr
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Registered: 2013-04-18
Posts: 42

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

I relate to your frustration, and your experience is probably similar to many people when they start playing.  Your house getting ransacked and wife murdered, not knowing what you're doing, dying on your own traps, trying to figure out how people's traps work - these are all hallmarks of the game.  I seriously doubt anyone playing this game has not gotten pissed at it for one reason or another.  If the gameplay isn't intriguing enough to repeatedly face that challenge, then yeah, you probably aren't gonna stick with it.

With the recent introduction of blueprints, home designs have been pushed more towards the electrician's schematic nightmare.  However, now you can learn what the best houses are doing just by looking at the map, which you could not do previously.  House designs used to be hidden, which gave newbies more room to experiment with misdirection, mazes, and decoys while also making the "best" houses impossible to defeat.  Having access to maps doesn't reveal why stuff works, but it gives new players so much more information about house designs than was available before.  Maybe it's too much information.   

Deciphering blueprints and wiring schematics is maybe not your ideal robbery gameplay, but it demonstrates the kind of sophisticated custom traps available in this game.  You describe it as "tedious" to figure out how people's traps works.  You were maybe hoping for a more blackbox experience.  If that's the case, I highly recommend Yahztee's single-player robbery game Trilby: The Art of Theft.  It's free.  It only involves robbery and trap-defeating rather than trap-building, though.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/content … artoftheft

Last edited by jearr (2013-06-06 10:28:04)

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#4 2013-06-06 10:38:48

jere
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Registered: 2013-05-31
Posts: 540

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

On the one hand, I believe "being victimized over and over" is actually one of the points of the game. On the other, I agree with what you're saying. The game seems like it's hard for new players, especially ones who weren't expecting so much focus on reading wiring diagrams. The "being victimized" part is important but I'm wondering if a better learning curve isn't compatible.

I've been making some of the same points. There's no clear solution, but it seems like a change to the availability of blueprints might have advantages.


Golden Krone Hotel - a vampire roguelike

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#5 2013-06-06 10:51:38

Blip
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Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 505

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

One of my good friends also just stared playing, and he told me some of the same things you're saying:
"How do these traps work?" and "How can I not be robbed so often?"
Of course, I helped him out, and tried to catch him up on all the stuff we as a community has learned about the game since v5. I told him about how to make dog-activated electric floors, and how voltage triggered switches work. I'm trying to teach him how to use blueprints to come up with a comprehensive solution to a house, and how to make his house, in turn, harder to crack with blueprints. Now that he understands the basics, he's been looking at the richest houses, and, as he knows what each individual component in their house does, he can deduce how they work together to make a trap. The moral here is that it's really useful to have somebody to ask your questions about the game to. And, if you don't know personally any experienced players, ask you questions here on the forums! We're happy to teach you about the mechanics of the game, and we truly want you to enjoy playing it.


Current life: Not dead, but I have no clue who I am
The Life and Times of Christopher Alvin Harris
Record: 149 Paintings!

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#6 2013-06-06 14:32:06

nayr974
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Registered: 2013-06-06
Posts: 2

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

I have to echo the same disappointment as someone who just bought the game. I don't really have interest in studying blueprints to solve convoluted schematics that just take longer and longer to figure out. I was looking forward to the tension of entering an mysterious place and exploring it, as well as setting up deceiving and clever traps for others. These do not seem to be elements of the game any more, rather the game is now algorithm generation and reverse engineering.

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#7 2013-06-06 19:11:34

ukuko
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Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 333

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

I think the inclusion of blueprints has made the game a little easier, if anything. Easier not to trip over that surprise pit bull, for sure. It's also fostered a more thoughtful style of play, and less of the brute force suicide spam that was common before. Money is changing hands more regularly. There's also much less cheating — I haven't noticed anything obvious on my tapes, where it was commonplace before.

Sure, the passing of combo locks and electric-floor-dances has lead to far more complex (better) houses, but necessity is the mother of invention. Otherwise most of us would still be making lovely little mazes with a fail-safe combo/dance lock should you reach the other side.

The game is tough on new players. When v5 first came out EVERYONE sucked. And not just for two hours — for days, or even weeks. It takes time to learn how all the house objects work, and then how to use tools to overcome them.

The biggest difference for people starting now is that most of the 'cheap kill' traps are rendered ineffective by blueprints. I understand that that might suck for new players (who are missing out on some amusing slapstick circa v5), but it also balances the game out. When there's nothing but luck between you and the bottom of a trapdoor it gets real old real quick.

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#8 2013-06-06 19:53:44

vraeden
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Registered: 2013-04-05
Posts: 23

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

With blueprints, this game has turned into a an electrician puzzle game.  Not fun.  I think blueprints should be ripped back out and something else should be thought of to help ease the breaking of combo and magic dance locks.

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#9 2013-06-07 03:31:59

Eliijahh
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Registered: 2013-06-06
Posts: 6

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

vraeden wrote:

With blueprints, this game has turned into a an electrician puzzle game.  Not fun.  I think blueprints should be ripped back out and something else should be thought of to help ease the breaking of combo and magic dance locks.

Agreed. I bought the game watching videos on youtube. They looked so much fun, didn't know what was going on. So tense. Now that I play I feel like I must be an electrician xD

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#10 2013-06-07 03:43:21

bey bey
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Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

I think what you didn't see is that there were two kinds of houses popping up that were almost impossible to crack: The magic dance and the bit-lock. Both spread and none were fun. A change would mean eliminating switches as a whole. But that could still leave you with trial-and-error-style labyrinths filled with pitbulls. The electronics are rather basic (even though I, not being in any way engineering capable, struggle with them), so they can be figured out with blueprints. And the more dickish they are, the more I feel like beating a house to destruction after finally figuring it out.


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#11 2013-06-07 05:08:10

dalleck
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Registered: 2013-04-13
Posts: 250

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

bey bey wrote:

I think what you didn't see is that there were two kinds of houses popping up that were almost impossible to crack: The magic dance and the bit-lock. Both spread and none were fun. A change would mean eliminating switches as a whole. But that could still leave you with trial-and-error-style labyrinths filled with pitbulls. The electronics are rather basic (even though I, not being in any way engineering capable, struggle with them), so they can be figured out with blueprints. And the more dickish they are, the more I feel like beating a house to destruction after finally figuring it out.

This is all very relevant to my suggestion posted here.

Houses without switches should not be blueprinted.  This allows for two kinds of houses in the game and for people to create creepy mazes.

'Course the cheaters gonna cheat on these non-blueprinted houses, but who cares?  Let's not design a game around what cheaters might do, hey?


The rich aren't safe. Nobody is safe. -jere                   ...but the smell wafts out from the pit, obviously. - Jason Rohrer

And the more dickish they are, the more I feel like beating a house to destruction after finally figuring it out. -bey bey

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#12 2013-06-07 05:32:29

jere
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Registered: 2013-05-31
Posts: 540

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

Yea, dalleck. I think if a change to blueprints does happen, that's the most elegant solution I've seen. It rather naturally distinguishes between maze and electric puzzle houses as opposed to my initial suggestion about high value->blueprint would only divide the houses after some time.


Golden Krone Hotel - a vampire roguelike

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#13 2013-06-07 10:54:26

nayr974
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Registered: 2013-06-06
Posts: 2

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

After playing a few hours more last night I feel like this game plays like a Sudoku puzzle. I'm not going to attempt to rob a house unless I have it solved ahead of time, by hand on the blueprint. Maybe that's rewarding for some people but I feel like there is so much more opportunity with this concept. Maybe the solution to frustrating unbreakable combination locks and magic dances isn't a blueprint so we can painstakingly decode them, but rather more elaborate tools. I'd have much more fun with battery packs that could power up circuits, stethoscopes to listen for dogs, cameras that let me peer under doors or around corners, or other creative tools.

Even if the end result is that it's easier to break into a house, doing so would be much more fun and exciting - and designing against these tools would also be a more interesting challenge, in my opinion. With a larger tool set each player may even have their own "style" of burgling a house.

If breaking into a house is easier, then there are two issues. One is that nobody will be able to save money, and the other is that a house may be solved by the first robber and then all subsequent attempts are easy and do not require the same problem solving.

There could be a number of ways to balance this. One could be that breaking into a house doesn't net as high a reward, and perhaps only 10% of the money is stolen. Another could be that you can only attempt a house once, or once every X days, or longer if the robbery is successful. Another could be that a house can only be burgled once before the owner must repair it. Another could be auto-resetting of the house, so long as the owner has money left to pay for repairs. If the house kills a robber, the owner gets a portion of the robbers money. I like this one, as if the house is well designed it will make more money than it loses, even if a number of players successfully rob it and that will probably leave a lot more houses on the market to rob.

I dislike the blueprint feature even more now that I've played longer and I'll be pretty disappointed if this is the direction the game goes.

Last edited by nayr974 (2013-06-07 10:56:08)

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#14 2013-06-07 23:33:27

jasonrohrer
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Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

New Folks:

Please understand that this game is in public alpha for a reason:   there are still a bunch of really hard design problems to solve, and they can only be solved through experimentation while the game is being played by a suitably-large group of people.

All Folks:

Of course, it's never a good idea to underestimate players, but people got shockingly good at this game very quickly.  The game is currently being sunk by the arms race that has resulted.

I agree that blueprints give the game an "electrician" feel that is not exactly what I'm going for.  Nervously sneaking through someone's house is what I was going for.  But houses got so hard so fast that there was very little sneaking going on toward the end of v5.

The core problem is that the systems in Castle Doctrine are so general that people can build pretty much anything with them.  The puzzle space is clearly NP-complete (when generalized on NxN grids instead of 32x32).  In v5, people were building houses that couldn't be solved in polynomial time, given the hidden information involved.  What people didn't realize is that, even with NO hidden information, it's possible to build houses that can't be solved in polynomial time (what we're seeing people approach in v8).  Blueprints have pushed people toward these designs, but imagine how ridiculous such designs would have been in v5 (even the map-peeking cheaters would have been stumped).

And yes, though these are real puzzles now, they are not interesting to solve.  Any puzzle where you essentially have to try all possible answers, with nothing to guide you toward the answer, is not a well-designed puzzle.  But we obviously can't expect players to design "good" puzzles here---their goal is to design something that will keep everyone out!

Some people have suggested various tools (instead of blueprints) to "help" solve these houses (detectors of various kinds).  But the demon is out of the box, and no detector is going to help you solve an NP-hard puzzle.

Of course, you can cleverly cut through certain spots, rendering the puzzle less hard.  But, since you can only carry 8 items, house owners simply make the crucial parts of their puzzle 9 units thick.

So.... what if you could carry 16 or even 32 backpack items?  What if you could carry unlimited backpack items?  Or what if you could carry an unlimited supply of a subset of the available items?  What if your 8 slots could each hold one type of item, but an unlimited number of that type?

Then every house becomes clearly breakable, but owners will strive to make their house as expensive to break as possible (while still having *some* kind of puzzle in place to force people to break things in the first place).  If someone solves the puzzle, then they can get through much cheaper.

Maybe tools need to become substantially more expensive to make this work (and of course have a tool for everything, even an "off" electric floor).  A fresh-start player should hardly have enough money to buy enough tools to pose a real threat to a hard house.

Thoughts?

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#15 2013-06-08 02:16:06

DrNoid
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Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 56

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

How many people are actually active in the game?
Right now I see only 5 houses with more than 10K, and only 12 with more than 100.
Make that 4, I just robbed mr Rodriquez.

Those 5 include Christopher Norman Doe's house, which is very easy to break but is in an unrobbable state now, and has been for as long as V8 is out. When was the last time he checked his house?

So there are only very few houses worth robbing, meaning as soon as someone has money, he'll be robbed.


The problem is I think the set of two voltage switches. Without those there would be no secret dance and no combination lock possible. All that would be left is mazes with dogs and buttons that trigger pits/floors in a direct way. Button on means floor on, button off means floor off. You could have a floor that kills you if you step on it, but it couldn't have a bit lock.

Actually, it could. A set of buttons that have to be all on to close the door in front of the dog that would kill you if it could reach the button.

Hmm, this is a hard problem we have here...

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#16 2013-06-08 03:34:38

ukuko
Member
Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 333

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

jasonrohrer wrote:

I agree that blueprints give the game an "electrician" feel that is not exactly what I'm going for.  Nervously sneaking through someone's house is what I was going for.  But houses got so hard so fast that there was very little sneaking going on toward the end of v5.

When we talk about sneaking, we're really talking about avoiding pitbulls, right? You can see where the pitbulls start, but its not so easy to determine where they will end up. There's been plenty of times post-blueprints that I've been cautiously peering around corners, unsure if I've got a pitbull after me. So there's still scope for sneaking, just now you can usually tell what a house is going to involve before you enter it.

jasonroher wrote:

even with NO hidden information, it's possible to build houses that can't be solved in polynomial time.
And yes, though these are real puzzles now, they are not interesting to solve.

I would argue that most of these puzzles are still fun to solve, though admittedly you may spend more time inspecting the blueprint than you actually do in the house. I accept that that's not enjoyable for everyone.

jasonroher wrote:

So.... what if you could carry 16 or even 32 backpack items?  What if you could carry unlimited backpack items?

I think unlimited items would probably ruin things — if you were rich enough you could cut/kill your way to any vault.

It would be interesting to see what would happen with more realistic item usage/burden.

For example, say you had 4 slots and could only carry one of any item:

Gun: More expensive, but fires 6/8 shots
Saw/torch/crowbar: 8 uses each (breaks, runs out of fuel, breaks)
Explosives: 4 uses?
Ladder: You can only bring one. Single use. (Maybe raise the cost of pits/trapdoors)
Voltage Detector: Reusable (not that it's particularly useful anyway)
Wire cutters: Reusable
Brick: Reusable (You can just pick it up, right?)
Water/meat: 8 uses
Doorstop: Pack of 8

So you'd get a little more mileage out of your tools, but composing the right toolset for the house would a more tactical affair. I also like the idea that you'd be investing in tools — a pair of wire cutters can be used again and again and stored in your vault when you don't need them. 

DrNoid wrote:

Right now I see only 5 houses with more than 10K, and only 12 with more than 100.

If robbed houses still earned a basic wage (say what everyone earned pre wage-hike) then there'd be many more houses to rob, and much more cash to go round. There would also be a permanent catalogue of mid-level houses for newer players to cut their teeth on.

DrNoid wrote:

The problem is I think the set of two voltage switches. Without those there would be no secret dance and no combination lock possible.

Both secret dances and combination locks are perfectly feasible without voltage switches.

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#17 2013-06-08 05:13:52

Matrix
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Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 137

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

I think that the problem itself is hard to "solve" in a gameplay sense due to some design limitations. Jason doesn't want to change some aspects of the game, so solutions are heavily limited by that as well.

The main problem I see is that at the moment the game lacks active players and players in general. But at the same time the game is really inaccessible for new players and existing players don't have much to do in the game after they have built their house and robbed a few others. It's a vicious cycle. It's hard to get more players to build more houses if the game itself is not kind to them in the beginning.

I think that new players need some protection (= advantage) in the beginning to help them learn the game and to make it impossible for experienced players to scare them from the game. Also the game itself should introduce game mechanics in such a way that they don't overwhelm all those players who are still learning the game. Many "improvements" for new players could be implemented, but I think that Jason doesn't want to go in that direction.

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#18 2013-06-08 06:01:05

bey bey
Member
Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

I think that tools can't be the answer, especially against dogs. Dogs are the weak point in design for their many flaws (movement, being stalled by dead bodies etc.), and they are the only thing that actually interacts with the player. Weaken dogs and you'll be entirely left with switch systems.


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#19 2013-06-08 06:17:23

colorfusion
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Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

Perhaps a sandbox area could help new users learn the mechanics and more experienced users recreate and solve some of the higher end traps.

You'd be put in a blank house but with limitless money. If you die while testing it or reach the vault you'd be sent straight to build mode again; no punishment and no way to publish it. Your sandbox area is just yours (and it could even be stored on the user's PC since there's no advantage from cheating in it).

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#20 2013-06-08 06:36:47

jere
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Registered: 2013-05-31
Posts: 540

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

Perhaps a sandbox area could help new users learn the mechanics and more experienced users recreate and solve some of the higher end traps.

You'd be put in a blank house but with limitless money. If you die while testing it or reach the vault you'd be sent straight to build mode again...

To this point, you're describing the game as is. I've been saying this a lot: if you are a new player, don't get invested in your family/house until you learn the mechanics.

Your house IS a sandbox. You can start unlimited times over again. No one can rob it until you say so. You're limited to $6k, but there's quite a lot you can do with that. You can rebuild major portions of the top traps to understand how they work. I've done it several times.

The only thing preventing anyone from using the existing game as a sandbox is the emotional barrier that you can't lose your family or house.


Golden Krone Hotel - a vampire roguelike

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#21 2013-06-08 07:58:20

colorfusion
Member
Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

jere wrote:

Perhaps a sandbox area could help new users learn the mechanics and more experienced users recreate and solve some of the higher end traps.

You'd be put in a blank house but with limitless money. If you die while testing it or reach the vault you'd be sent straight to build mode again...

To this point, you're describing the game as is. I've been saying this a lot: if you are a new player, don't get invested in your family/house until you learn the mechanics.

Your house IS a sandbox. You can start unlimited times over again. No one can rob it until you say so. You're limited to $6k, but there's quite a lot you can do with that. You can rebuild major portions of the top traps to understand how they work. I've done it several times.

The only thing preventing anyone from using the existing game as a sandbox is the emotional barrier that you can't lose your family or house.

In a way I guess so, but it's a lot more than just the "emotional barrier"; you have to destroy your house, you often won't have enough money to test things, you need to make sure there are routes out, you have to imagine a lot of what would happen, and you still risk losing absolutely everything.

I think it would be a lot more convenient to just be able to hop into a separate sandbox house and test whatever you want, and you can be building up your own house with things you've learned alongside that. A new users trying to rob houses is unlikely to be able to keep enough money up to be able to test things, as their house is being robbed because they don't know how most mechanics work.

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#22 2013-06-08 08:46:29

Matrix
Member
Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 137

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

Yes jere, colorfusion is right. He already pointed out most of things that I was thinking about, but I would like to add one more thing. Tools. You can't use tools inside this "sandbox", so it's not a real sandbox. New players need to figure out what tools do and what they can be used on. They also need to learn about the aftereffects, because they can affect other things inside the house.

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#23 2013-06-08 09:42:36

bey bey
Member
Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

Sounds like it might be necessary, if only for the fact that there are few houses to actually test one's skills on because most start with a frying floor etc. If it weren't for that I'd hope everybody could learn tool use in houses that allow for some exploration (the way I did some time back) but if the game remains this way it might seem best.

How about a sandbox server, where you can properly rob your own house with tools, and where there are some demo-houses with standard features to test their skills on. (Like a basic maze, the standard magic dance etc.) If the game keeps getting more complex, something like that might be helpful.


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#24 2013-06-08 10:46:27

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

Hmm... yes, with unlimited tools, a rich player would be unstoppable as a robber.

But then again, a full cut-through-everything robbery would be expensive.  That means that it wouldn't be worth doing on a low-level house (you wouldn't spend $2000 in tools to get $400, would you?)  So, the rich would be able to afford to rob each other, which means that no one would be rich for long.

And as a fresh-start player, you'd have very tough choices to make about where to spend your money... beef up your house, or buy more tools?  And if you bring the wrong set of tools (assuming blueprints are gone), then you can still get trapped and die, which means you'd drop a ton of tools in the vault (instead of just 8 max).

Would it "ruin" the game?  We've got to figure out what the intended game is.  Right now, we've got expert players who sit at the top for a (relatively) long time, pretty much untouchable.  9 walls thick, solve my puzzle or die.  It seems that some players feel this is a necessary and desirable part of the game.  That, if you can't reliably protect your house for days, the game is broken.

Yeah, the slogan is, "PROTECT WHAT'S YOURS," but that slogan isn't genuine.  It's supposed to highlight the futility of trying to do that when everyone (including you) is out to get everyone else.

What I originally envisioned for the game is that everyone would be vulnerable, eventually.  Yes, there would be an arms race, but more along the lines of "what tools robbers are carrying these days vs. what I'm building in my house to thwart them."  If everyone is building wire-heavy traps, so burglars are coming in with loads of wire cutters, you could throw a curve ball by making a wall-heavy maze instead where wirecutters are useless.

The idea was that the limit on backpack slots would make this work.  But, duh, I didn't spend enough time thinking how the numerical limit would be exploited (if robbers can only bring 8 tools, just put in 9 obstacles), nor did I fully face the kinds of truly-hard puzzles that are possible (so that actually solving the puzzle is not really an option).

Maybe, instead, the balance could come from the cost of tools themselves.  This can obviously be tweaked to a very fine degree (if saws are too powerful, just make them more and more expensive until their cost matches their power).

The other option is to make all tools infinitely-reusable, but severely limit the number of slots.  Maybe you can only carry 4 things, but they can each be used over and over.  Now what if a house uses all three wall types plus wiring and dogs?  It seems like we'd be back where we started, with owners quickly figuring out how to make a puzzle house that requires X+1 tools to break, if there are X unlimited-use tool slots.  (Also, this would destroy the preciousness of tools themselves, which I don't want to do).

The goal here has to be to prevent players from ever becoming invulnerable, even to a novice player.  Yeah, I want the game to involve a good deal of intelligence, but more along the lines of "smart, tactical thinking," not the hardcore, IQ-test style mental crunching that the game currently requires.

I really like watching tapes where someone does something clever and simple to bypass one of my traps (like throws a brick on  a switch that is supposed to be unreachable).  And the visibility fog really matches the smart, tactical-thinking gameplay that I was originally going for.  Coming around a corner, and thinking, "Okay, how am I going to get past THAT?"  Not studying blueprints for hours to discover the exact set of micro-moves to make in order to bypass something (3-up, then 2-left, then 3-right, then 1-down, then press button twice, then....)

It seems like I've gotten myself lost in the thick of this arms race against player design-cleverness, but it's an arms race that can never be won.  I need to go back and re-think what the core of the game is about.

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#25 2013-06-08 10:55:42

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Thoughts from a Newbie who was truly looking forward to this game.

Thought:  if your backpack is infinite, why would you ever leave anything in your vault? 

Well, if you can only carry 8 types of things, then you'd have to pick 4 types to leave in your vault, so there's that factor.  But what if everything in your backpack was lost at the end of a robbery, no matter what happened during the robbery?  So, yeah, you could carry 40 guns, if you really think you're going to need them, but they will all be wasted if the house you pick has no dogs in it.  So you'd naturally want to pick the minimal set of tools that will help you survive (at least) or succeed (at best) in a house.

Your load-out for scouting and final robbery would be very different, for example, and you'd have to think carefully about what you're bringing along.

One problem with this is its counter-intuitiveness (where'd my stuff go?) and how to explain it to the player.

Maybe backpack is only lost during scouting.... "You ditch your backpack and run out the door."  That would engender a nice press-your-luck feeling ("Man, I REALLY need to reach the vault so that I don't lose all these guns!")

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