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#1 2013-08-29 13:00:19

jasonrohrer
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Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,211

On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

In The Castle Doctrine, one set of game elements is more thematically loaded than anything else:  the family members.

This is as it should be, because family is a key component of the self-defense issue and the construction of manhood.  Nothing brings these issues into sharper focus than when your children are present during an attack.  We can argue about whether women inherently need the protection of men (I don't think that they do, even though society is still built this way, and some women still expect men to protect them).  But there is no arguing about young children needing protection in dangerous situations---they are smaller and weaker than adults without exception.

The Castle Doctrine originally had no family members.  It was a game solely about protecting physical possessions from theft---a bleak, lonely, post-female world of male violence run amok.  It felt like something was missing thematically.  In response, I added family members.

But, as many critics have observed, I didn't just stick them in there as thematic frosting.  I gave them a mechanical function also.  Should I have done this?  Does this cheapen them through instrumentalization?  Are they made less meaningful this way?

No.  In fact, the opposite is actually true.  Characters that have no mechanical function are less meaningful than characters that do.  That is a bold claim about game design, and I'll spend the rest of this article defending that claim.

First of all, how do the family members function mechanically in the game?  As you design your house, you can chose where you put the family members, and what you build around them, but other than that, they are out of your immediate control.  The wife character has her own salary in the game, which she earns whenever you (and she) are away from home.  You earn a salary too, but it is half the amount that she earns (she's a 1990s-era working mother).  She holds onto the money that she earns while you are away.  When you come home, she shares her money with you for home improvement purposes.

When a robber comes in, the family members each behave individually.  They remain in place, hiding, until they see the robber.  Then they try to run to the exit.  If they make it to the exit, they are safe, and they return to their original positions after the robber leaves.  If a child is killed while the wife is still in the house, the wife immediately runs to the child.  If the wife is killed, the robber can take the money that she is holding.

An obvious alternative here would have been to keep the family flight mechanics in place, but get rid of the money element.  But before considering that alternative, we need to think about what kind of player behavior the mechanics, as described, encourage.

Since the wife is a major source of income, she is a crucial element.  If she is killed, that source of income, along with the savings she was holding, are permanently cut off.  So, players will tend to protect her.  They will also tend to protect the children, because not doing so will indirectly endanger the wife.

How does this prediction match with actual behavior in the game?  Perfectly.  Nearly all players devote substantial resources toward protecting family members, sometimes even at the cost of weak protection for the physical possessions in their vault.  The ultimate expression of this behavior comes in the form of the "vault by the door" strategy, which crops up from time to time:

vaultByDoor.png

The family is hiding somewhere off screen, and the robber is tempted to go for the risk-free vault payout.

And what kind of player behavior would be encouraged with the hypothetical value-free family member alternative?  Players wouldn't care about their family members, and they wouldn't devote any of their precious resources toward protect them.

Really?  Wouldn't some still be motivated to act based on the thematic implications?  These are children, after all.  Yes, some players would be so motivated, but most would not.

How do I know?  Because I've experimented with the relative resource value given to the wife in the game.  When she matters less mechanically, players protect her less.  When she matters more, they protect her more.  There have been times in the history of the game when the wife carried far less resource value than she does now.  At those times, the "vault by the door" strategy was replaced by a "family by the door" strategy.

And what would happen to those still-thematically-motivated players in a hypothetical game where the family wasn't "worth" protecting?  They would "waste" resources on family protection that other players were not similarly wasting, and thereby put themselves at a disadvantage relative to other players.  Such players would learn quickly that they were playing the game wrong.  The game would be whispering, "Don't protect the family, they don't matter."

So, players in the current game devote extensive resources and effort toward protecting the family.  But is this meaningful?  After all, it's mechanically motivated.

On its face, what does the player behavior seem to be saying?  What does the "vault by the door" say, for example?  It says, "Here, take whatever you want, just leave my family alone."  This is a great example of tight thematic coupling.  People actually would behave that way in real life.  The "meaning of life" in the game, as expressed by the mechanics, is thematically consonant.

What would a "family by the door" player behavior be saying, on the other hand?

familyByDoor.png

Okay, so players end up behaving in a way that is thematically consistent when they are mechanically motivated in this way.  But what are they feeling?  Because what they're feeling matters when we're talking about what a game actually means.

First of all, we must acknowledge that these are not real family members.  Nothing that we can design in the game will turn them into real family members.  So, whatever the player feels for them is necessarily some kind of strange shadow version of a real feeling.

But my next claim, and it's a bold one, does not depend on this fact at all.

The claim is this:  if you get people to act like they feel a certain way for long enough, through whatever means, they will actually end up feeling that way.  Behavior and emotion cannot be held apart forever.  They eventually converge.  And this link has been observed in research across a wide range of human interactions, from nursing to prisons and from pet ownership to parenting.

It works in real life.  It works in games too.  And when we're talking about meaning in games, this is the only way to do it.

Why?  Because games are about players behaving in certain ways---there's no way around that.  We need to face the fact that player behavior matters.  If players are behaving in thematically dissonant ways, they will eventually be feeling thematically dissonant feelings.  So, our only option, if we want to avoid dissonance, is to build systems that encourage thematically consonant player behavior.

(This, by the way, is by no means a new idea.)

When you come home in The Castle Doctrine and walk around a corner in your house to discover that your family has been killed, how do you feel?  Violated.  Hopeless.  Hurt.  Your heart sinks.  You contemplate suicide.  Is it because of the money and corresponding time and effort lost?  Yes, at first.  But over time, as you feel this way repeatedly in connection with that sight, the feeling becomes less calculated and more reflexive.  It transfers gradually from the head to the gut.

If we're dreaming about a more perfect solution to this problem, and that solution avoids encouraging particular player behaviors through mechanical systems, then player behavior can either be left dangling and thematically dissonant, or it can be minimized to the point of almost being eliminated entirely.  Many games have experimented with these two approaches, but neither alternative is satisfying to me.

I want to make games where player behavior is the meaning.

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#2 2013-08-29 17:28:07

gumshoe
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Registered: 2013-08-18
Posts: 54

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

Thats nice and all, and awesome and fine and dandy and great, but it's not the issue / hmm the issue is that you have a fantastic game, with tons of interesting puzzle elements, that your family has no way of interacting with, and yet its perfectly viable to sink your recourses into protecting them. The problem there is that when it comes to family defence we have one one optimal strategy, that strategy involves furry monsters(willing to kill their own owner in a heart beat should he make a single mistake) en masse. Whereas if I choose to defend my vault, do I decide between a chase centred larinth, or a magic dance focused house, do I place my electrics over a pit? Do I leave part of my wiring out in the opening knowing my opponent wont comprehend it, how do I create a point of no return? With a fence and a trap door? Or a powered door and a corralled dog? The possibilities are endless and engaging. Why is family defence so droll by comparison? You can have your cake and eat it to / : make it so that theres more than one viable method to protect your family, your still splitting recourses and attention, only now your doing it in engaging manner.

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#3 2013-08-29 20:27:46

joshwithguitar
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Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

I have to disagree with you here gumshoe - there is nothing wrong with having family defence less "gamey" and puzzle based and more about choices to do with where to spend resources. There is already an interesting puzzle element in order to get to the vault, there is no need to add a further one to get to the family. Currently houses that purely focus on defending the family at the cost of the vault are not very effective after the very early game as they stop generating income after the second time they are robbed, so putting some money into vault defence is worth it.

The wife part and family part of the game is really all about choices - do I put a bit more effort into protecting my family, or securing my vault? Am I happy to club other peoples wives for some extra cash?

Also, there is currently no "optimal strategy" for defending your wife - just placing lots of pitbulls is not necessarily effective as they can be lured away and drugged or bunched together and clubbed. Effective wife defence takes skill and I'm not sure I've seen something yet which I think is "optimal".

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#4 2013-08-30 06:44:34

gumshoe
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Registered: 2013-08-18
Posts: 54

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

Really 0_0 you of all people are claiming theres more than one optimal defence? Every house I've ever been in of yours has the exact same wife defence... the same as every other major house at the top, also cmon, space the pitbulls out by 1 and they're not going to get club stacked. Wife defence doesn't take skill, it just takes basic knowledge of animal spacing and potential wall smashing. If you wanna argue that a significant component of the game shouldn't be fun or engaging or require real decision making then... do that I guess? But if safe defence is an entire Italian themed wedding feast wife defence is a ceiling high stack of moist toast...

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#5 2013-08-30 06:45:28

jasonrohrer
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Posts: 1,211

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

I didn't address this issue in the article.

I do want these two parts of the game to feel different.  I don't want the wife to just be a second vault, with all the same stuff around her that you would place around your vault.  If that was the case, you could just put the wife next to your vault, behind the same intricate security system that is already protecting your vault.  But you can't do that most of the time, because the wife needs an empty path to the exit.  The wife needs to exist in a part of the house that is NOT overloaded with security.... that is more livable.  So, you must build a house with these two different parts to it.

Also, it's thematically sensible for dogs to be part of family security.  Dogs get to know their family and want to protect it.  They can differentiate between their family and an intruder.  An electric floor cannot.  Thus, electric floors are effective too dangerous to use around your kids.  The game rules prevent you from putting an electric floor between your kids and the front door.

All that said, I'm not terribly happy with how limited the family protection palette is. 

I think there are more clever and psychological things to do than just a corridor of dogs, though.  False paths are possible, and doors can open behind the robber as they go down these false paths, releasing dogs that will get them as they backtrack.  That's just one example.  Still, it's dogs.

If I end up with a solution to this problem, it will be a solution that preserves many of the properties of family protection.  Family protection will always be substantially different...

OHHHH.... OHHHH.....

I just got an idea!  A really good idea!

A "gun" object that you can place on the ground near the family.  As the wife runs out of the house, if she passes over the gun object, she picks it up.  At that point, if she sees the robber again, the robber is shot and killed instantly.

But I'd have to figure out how to balance this.  What's the trade-off?  Obviously, cost.  But I think it would become a dominant strategy pretty quickly.  Well, she could still shoot you, by accident, during self-test.  So, that would make it dangerous and hard to test as a home-owner.

But still, it really feels like there's not much to think about here for players.  Put the gun as close to the wife as possible.  Hmm....

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#6 2013-08-30 06:54:37

gumshoe
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Registered: 2013-08-18
Posts: 54

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

If the kids pick it up, either they or the closest family member would die / :

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#7 2013-08-30 06:57:48

gumshoe
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Registered: 2013-08-18
Posts: 54

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

Price would already be a good limiter there (you could also have it that a wife could pick up other stuff like a brick, in general this opens up a whole realm of interesting possibilities of your family using break in tools to defend themselves)

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#8 2013-08-30 07:04:05

colorfusion
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Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

I think the "Here's all my money, just don't harm my family!" aspect could be nice thematically, but the thing is that they keep their money too and it's a pretty reliable strategy to force people to spend a fortune brute forcing through your house. If people want to surrender everything to have to keep their family safe then I don't think they should also be keeping most of their money and being the richest people on the block.

jasonrohrer wrote:

OHHHH.... OHHHH.....

I just got an idea!  A really good idea!

A "gun" object that you can place on the ground near the family.  As the wife runs out of the house, if she passes over the gun object, she picks it up.  At that point, if she sees the robber again, the robber is shot and killed instantly.

But I'd have to figure out how to balance this.  What's the trade-off?  Obviously, cost.  But I think it would become a dominant strategy pretty quickly.  Well, she could still shoot you, by accident, during self-test.  So, that would make it dangerous and hard to test as a home-owner.

But still, it really feels like there's not much to think about here for players.  Put the gun as close to the wife as possible.  Hmm....

Perhaps for every time the wife uses the gun to kill a robber, it takes one out of your vault? Also maybe she only carries it for a certain number of steps?

This might mean you wouldn't want to just load your wife up with a gun all the time, but only at a crucial moment where the robber could be about to kill her. Also puts a pretty heavy cost on each kill, so you wouldn't want to just use this as a normal trap but rather in situations where the robber would otherwise kill the wife.

Some kind of gun rack would probably make more sense with this behaviour.

Last edited by colorfusion (2013-08-30 07:09:09)

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#9 2013-08-30 08:09:19

jere
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Registered: 2013-05-31
Posts: 527
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Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

I just got an idea!  A really good idea!

A "gun" object that you can place on the ground near the family.  As the wife runs out of the house, if she passes over the gun object, she picks it up.  At that point, if she sees the robber again, the robber is shot and killed instantly.

Oh man, I can see the headlines from the critics already. That's more of a reason to do it, than not do it though.

The problem with this idea is that it leads to more no brainers, more optimal plays. Exactly like you said later: "But still, it really feels like there's not much to think about here for players.  Put the gun as close to the wife as possible.  Hmm...."

For one, I don't see any counter play. A robber walks in, tries to find the wife, and is shot the moment she is visible? That sounds orders of magnitude more unfair than anything else in the game currently.

Well, she could still shoot you, by accident, during self-test.  So, that would make it dangerous and hard to test as a home-owner.

Probably not. Instead of people choosing between the gun and the dog hallway, they will often take both. During a self test, there's never any reason to go down that hallway.

I'm actually perfectly happy with the way the family works, but while we're brainstorming wacky ideas:

What if you change it so a self test requires the family to escape. If the living family members don't escape, you can't submit your house. That seems really thematically consistent; they're supposed to escape during a safety drill anyway, right? This would allow you to add on new family features like gun objects because now you have to interact with your family during a self test. Thus, the gun is balanced with additional risk. And it strongly pushes the existing message that the more defense you add, the more dangerous it is for you, the homeowner.

Wow, I'm in love with this idea. Players might still use long dog hallways, but they would have to add a secret backdoor that allows, if nothing else, eye contact with the entire family. That passage could be as complicated as the one that gets to the vault. Of course, it's a liability too. If a robber is able to get a visual on the family, they can head to the front door for easy cash.

Last edited by jere (2013-08-30 08:17:12)

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#10 2013-08-30 09:40:32

jasonrohrer
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Posts: 1,211

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

Yeah, this is getting somewhere interesting.

I don't think it could be required that the family actually escape, because that's a timing issue (whether their path out is longer than the path to the vault, etc.)  The family WILL be able to escape eventually (they are guaranteed an obstacle-free path).

But, it could be a requirement that each family member is seen by the owner, so their escape is triggered... but that's messy.  What do you do if the owner gets to the vault without seeing them?  Block vault access?  Send them back to the Edit screen?  Really, the binary success condition makes everything so clean.

Anyway, the idea with the gun is that it wouldn't be a sure thing, because the wife wouldn't be holding it to start.  She'd have to walk at least one step to get it.  So, even if the main path is effectively blocked by this behavior, you could still burrow in through the walls and effectively "surprise her" before she can grab the gun.  Still, that makes a family assault so much more costly and difficult (how do you find out where they are without getting shot?  etc).

Hmmm... seems like the wife would become the ultimate vault defense.  Have the path to the vault have a window where she can see the robber coming and wake up and grab the gun.  Then put the vault back where she is.  Vault is now totally blocked by the gun-wielding wife.

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#11 2013-08-30 10:33:15

jere
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Registered: 2013-05-31
Posts: 527
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Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

I don't think it could be required that the family actually escape, because that's a timing issue (whether their path out is longer than the path to the vault, etc.)  The family WILL be able to escape eventually (they are guaranteed an obstacle-free path).

But, it could be a requirement that each family member is seen by the owner, so their escape is triggered... but that's messy.  What do you do if the owner gets to the vault without seeing them?  Block vault access?  Send them back to the Edit screen?  Really, the binary success condition makes everything so clean.

Either would be fairly simple. I don't see the problem with sending them to the edit screen, with or without a message FAMILY DID NOT ESCAPE SAFELY, if you get to the vault early. I mean, right now if you leave the house before getting to the vault you're sent back to edit without a detailed explanation. A second condition wouldn't be that hard to explain either (where you currently explain the vault condition).

The decision here is whether or not the family should be an interactive part of the game during robberies. If it's perfectly valid to hide them behind strong defenses as opposed to making them come out in the open, the family is going to remain mechanically uninteresting during most robberies.

Still, that makes a family assault so much more costly and difficult (how do you find out where they are without getting shot?  etc).

Aren't we trying to make the family easier to get to? Adding more family defense options when there is already a nearly guaranteed option (dog hallway) doesn't seem to do do anything.

Then put the vault back where she is.

I'm not sure I understand. You mean taking advantage of the saved position of the wife? If so, you could simply use up a gun every time the wife steps on it, regardless of whether or not she shoots it. Robberies work that way.

Another gun idea, it would be really neat and thematically disturbing if the gun could be used by the robber. Assuming you can get to it before the wife does.

Last edited by jere (2013-08-30 10:40:18)

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#12 2013-08-30 10:53:59

colorfusion
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Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

jere wrote:

Aren't we trying to make the family easier to get to? Adding more family defense options when there is already a nearly guaranteed option (dog hallway) doesn't seem to do do anything.

I think the idea is thinking up some more family defence options so that the current one can be nerfed somewhat while still leaving options for people.

Last edited by colorfusion (2013-08-30 10:54:08)

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#13 2013-08-30 11:36:38

jasonrohrer
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Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,211

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

Well, I don't imagine implementing something where stuff is taken out of your vault so that the wife can use it.  I'm imagining something totally separate and in the house.... something that can be used over and over.

I'm not sure I understand. You mean taking advantage of the saved position of the wife?

What I meant was, if the wife has a "kill you on sight" power that she can pick up, then you would end up putting the vault BEHIND the wife, because she would become the strongest defense in the game.

Here's an example.  Say the CAT is really a GUN that the wife can pick up.  She sees you across the pit, then grabs the gun, and then the vault is blocked by her after that (well, she tries to leave the house, and essentially chases you out in the process).

http://castledraft.com/editor/Rl7xI9

HOWEVER, I keep forgetting that SELF-TEST would still apply here.  The owner wouldn't be able to reach the vault without the wife killing the owner by accident (mistaken identity).  So, that vault-protection strategy wouldn't work after all.

Also, it might be interesting if, after she picked up the gun, she didn't use it on the robber unless she really needed to.  LIke, when you click on a tool in your palette that you could use on her.... BAM, she shoots you.  Or, if you're standing in her way and blocking her escape path, then BAM.  But otherwise, she's just carrying the gun out of the house.  So, she could chase you out of the house, if the house was well designed.



Still, I don't want to build in a mechanic that could make her safety a sure thing.  Like, she picks up the gun, and then she's invincible after that?  And it would be possible to place the gun in such a way that she can get to it in one step?

It almost seems like some kind of restriction on gun placement in the house would be needed.  Like, the gun has to be in a separate room, and she has to run to that room to pick it up.  Or the gun can't be kept near the kids... or, something!  But then it gets messy and arbitrary feeling.  More stuff to explain to players.

And I don't want any kind of complicated "combat mechanics" with missed shots and such.

I get that the owner being forced to see the wife during the self-test would solve this problem (because then the owner would be faced with the same invincible and dangerous wife).... but I'm looking for something more elegant than that.

Hmm... unless we could go back to the wife and kids starting to run out even when they haven't been seen?

You're waiting by the door... and then here she comes with a gun.

But I think that everyone would put the gun by her, and so she'd always come out with a gun... i.e., she'd be invincible always.

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#14 2013-08-30 11:59:50

dalleck
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Registered: 2013-04-13
Posts: 250

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

jasonrohrer wrote:

Also, it might be interesting if, after she picked up the gun, she didn't use it on the robber unless she really needed to.  LIke, when you click on a tool in your palette that you could use on her.... BAM, she shoots you.  Or, if you're standing in her way and blocking her escape path, then BAM.  But otherwise, she's just carrying the gun out of the house.  So, she could chase you out of the house, if the house was well designed.

I really like this particular part of the idea.  She is a loaded cannon once you rile her up, not some fleeing damsel.  She is backed into a corner and will do whatever it takes to fight back.  I would go even further and consider imbuing the wife with the gun as default, so the moment she is seen she will shoot at you if you try to draw a weapon.

Of course, as you mention she is immortal once spotted, but what if her shots weren't guaranteed hits?  Then you would be taking the risk attempting to assault her.  I guess in fairness you would also have to make the robbers gunshots inaccurate as well.  I mean this guy is a complete amateur who somehow blunders other men's houses and kills their dogs.

This would mean that you could have a shoot-out style fight with the wife, with you both continuing to fire and returning fire at each until one of you is killed.

And simply moving into a destroyed wall when robbing will allow a wife past you if she is protecting the vault.

Last edited by dalleck (2013-08-30 12:03:46)


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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#15 2013-08-30 12:12:42

colorfusion
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Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

What if she left behind the gun after a certain number of turns? The gun (rack) should probably also be smashable with a crowbar or other tool, so the player could break it before the wife gets to it. I also think this gun should probably only have an adjacent range like clubs, so it's used more for defence rather than an unavoidable trap. Also might fit better having knives to put in your home, to avoid confusion between the inventory gun and the house gun.

If it was more than just adjacent we might see house designs like this:
http://castledraft.com/editor/44qlAY
Imagine the first screen only just reaches up to last pit.
If you pick any path but the top one then your screen scrolls across and you're dead. No chance to defend yourself unless you had a gun on you to shoot her back.
If you pick the top path then you're fine behind a concrete wall, unable to see her or only just able to see her so that she can exit on your test run.

dalleck wrote:
jasonrohrer wrote:

Also, it might be interesting if, after she picked up the gun, she didn't use it on the robber unless she really needed to.  LIke, when you click on a tool in your palette that you could use on her.... BAM, she shoots you.  Or, if you're standing in her way and blocking her escape path, then BAM.  But otherwise, she's just carrying the gun out of the house.  So, she could chase you out of the house, if the house was well designed.

I really like this particular part of the idea.  She is a loaded cannon once you rile her up, not some fleeing damsel.  She is backed into a corner and will do whatever it takes to fight back.  I would go even further and consider imbuing the wife with the gun as default, so the moment she is seen she will shoot at you if you try to draw a weapon.

Of course, as you mention she is immortal once spotted, but what if her shots weren't guaranteed hits?  Then you would be taking the risk attempting to assault her.  I guess in fairness you would also have to make the robbers gunshots inaccurate as well.  I mean this guy is a complete amateur who somehow blunders other men's houses and kills their dogs.

This would mean that you could have a shoot-out style fight with the wife, with you both continuing to fire and returning fire at each until one of you is killed.

And simply moving into a destroyed wall when robbing will allow a wife past you if she is protecting the vault.

Pretty much everything right now is certain. With a large house and instantdeath I wouldn't really want my fate to be in the hands of a random number generator.

Last edited by colorfusion (2013-08-30 12:21:44)

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#16 2013-08-30 12:51:44

zed
Member
Registered: 2013-04-16
Posts: 152

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

Another idea for diversification of family defence:

Add "locked doors". These can be wrenched open like powered doors, but they
can also be opened by family members. They disappear once opened. There still
have to be clear paths between family members and the exit, but the paths the
family members actually take will allow for taking shortcuts through locked
doors.

Main problem I see with this: it could be used for vault defence, putting the
vault between locked doors so you have to trigger the family to open the
doors. That would be unthematic.

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#17 2013-08-30 13:04:55

ukuko
Member
Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 329

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

I alwas thought the famiy should know the keycode to bypass any powered doors. That mechanic itself would be really interesting. Imagine getting locked in as the family escaped!

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#18 2013-08-30 13:15:46

zed
Member
Registered: 2013-04-16
Posts: 152

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

There's a technical problem with using powered doors for this - family members are implemented as just another tile type, so when a family member walks onto a powered door tile, that tile would have to be replaced by the family member. That's mostly why I was suggesting a new tile type for it.

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#19 2013-08-30 13:23:04

jasonrohrer
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Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,211

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

colorfusion wrote:

I also think this gun should probably only have an adjacent range like clubs, so it's used more for defence rather than an unavoidable trap. Also might fit better having knives to put in your home, to avoid confusion between the inventory gun and the house gun.

Shotgun?  Short range.

I remember Michael Savage (talk show radio host in the US) saying something like, "A shotgun is your best friend at night in a darkened bedroom."

The idea of her always having it, and pulling it out when she sees you, is interesting.  Then she would be invincible to clubs, though.  Which I guess is okay.  The kids would still be helpless.

But then your only hope would be to shoot her with a gun from afar.  Maybe this is okay?

I think some players would be tempted to use the wife as a security measure, though.  She could chase a small-time, gunless crook out of the house down a narrow hallway (the robber would have no room to walk around her without getting shot).  Kinda interesting, but thematically weird to intentionally use her in this way.

Still, I wish there was something a bit more rich in this interaction.... more risk-reward structure.  I really like the idea of her having to walk some distance to where the gun is kept, meaning she's vulnerable for a bit and then becomes dangerous.  Then there'd still be something to figure out there, as a robber.  But I can't see a way to force that to work... you can't control where the player is going to place the gun.



The idea of locked doors on the way to the vault that you could potentially trigger the family into opening for you is interesting.

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#20 2013-08-30 13:24:53

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,211

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

Dalleck:

Regarding a "shoot-out style fight" with the wife, with shot accuracy probabilities.... no, I'm not going to take the game in that direction!

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#21 2013-08-30 13:26:39

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,211

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

Zed:  the locked door could be a mobile that simply doesn't move.

That would mean that other mobiles couldn't ever go through it, though.  We talked about something similar for a dog-blocking door that allowed family through.  But we kindof already have something like that with a cat blocking a dog.

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#22 2013-08-30 16:39:47

zed
Member
Registered: 2013-04-16
Posts: 152

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

Another little, not entirely original, idea that might or might not be worth
considering:

Have an "alarm" tile which, when powered, triggers any family members within,
say, a 5x5 box centred at the alarm to start fleeing. Alternatively, make it
an alarm sign, which causes all family members within line-of-sight to start
fleeing (assuming it wouldn't be too technically awkward to compute LoS
centred at something other than the player).

This wouldn't reduce the need for pitbulls to guard the escape route, but
would at least add a (vulnerable) alternative to thick walls for guarding the sides.

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#23 2013-08-30 16:47:41

zed
Member
Registered: 2013-04-16
Posts: 152

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

Re wives with shotguns: I like that this would give you a risky
vault-protection strategy - put it at the end of a corridor with the wife in
front of it. Sure to work against anyone without a gun (or cutting tools to
get out of her way), but likely to end tragically.

Problem though: she can't really protect the children this way.

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#24 2013-08-30 16:59:39

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,211

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

Well, don't forget about the self test.  She would shoot the owner too (if you had to get past her to get to the vault).

So, there would need to be some other path to the vault that owner knows about.... some way for the owner to avoid her.

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#25 2013-08-30 17:14:11

zed
Member
Registered: 2013-04-16
Posts: 152

Re: On the Wife and Kids Mechanic (Dynamical Meaning)

True... and I like the idea that you could be shot by your own wife even more. But the point remains that it could be a viable but risky component of vault protection. To return to the point of your original post: it should be balanced such that it isn't worth the risk, but preferably such that this isn't immediately obvious (so mechanics really *teach* you to value your family)

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