Altering stats vs Testing Stats


#1

Hi,

Not sure exactly where this should be placed in the category list, so have used the General category.

In a Choicescript game where statistics are used and tested, I was wondering what thought processes authors use when it comes to deciding whether to test or to alter a stat?

For example: If I have a scene where the central character is a thief and they have an option to pick someone’s pocket, if they select this option would you…?

  • Have the action occur and increase thievery stat.
  • Test the thievery stat to see if it occurs but leave the stat unchanged.
  • Test the thievery stat to see if it occurs and then change the stat.
  • Test the thievery stat to see if it occurs but only change the stat if they were successful.

#2

If I would create the described scene keeping in mind that the central character is a thief and I would choose:

Have the action occur and increase thievery state:

  • When it’s early in the game. Maybe the first choice as a “thief”. (Maybe introduction to the character himself snacking a few coins when he bumps into a person walking down the street)
  • When the target and reward are not relevant for the progress of the story. (Just some coins from a random person)
  • When the player gets punished in another way. (Maybe the person he steals from could give him information later in a tavern however since his money got stolen he never goes there.)

Test the thievery stat to see if it occurs but leave the stat unchanged:

  • When the task is still a challenge but in terms of skills a habit (Stealing from musician after a performance who is talking and drinking with other people)
  • When the player gets rewarded in other ways. (A lot of money/An information that allows a new option in a later choice/ …)
  • When the player needs no further improvement in his skills. (Maybe he already maxed out the thievery stat)

Test the thievery stat to see if it occurs and then change the stat.:

  • When the player should be rewarded no matter if he fails or not. (Failure is still an experience just not a good one)

Test the thievery stat to see if it occurs but only change the stat if they were successful:

  • When the failure still rewards the player or has the possibility to avoid the failure (Maybe he was unaware that he was trying to steal from another fellow thief with better skills and now he has the possibility to convince the other thief into teaching him his skills)

Edit 2: So now I guess this a better way of answering your question.


#3

It can be either of the all cases, depends on what you want to achieve and how you present it. Here’re some example:

[details=a]

Your eyes spot a precious opportunity upon a business man that's too busy 
holding his smartphone.
*choice
   #I'm confident in my skill at slitting his bulky pocket and grabs whatever inside it
      *set thief +999
      You slit your razor with ease through the bottom sewing of the pocket
      and a large wallet drop at your hand.
```[/details]

----------

[quote="JohnAlanLarge, post:1, topic:26043"]
Test the thievery stat to see if it occurs but leave the stat unchanged.
[/quote]

[details=b]```
Your eyes spot a precious opportunity upon a business man that's too busy 
holding his smartphone.
*choice
   #His left pocket looks bulky. I'll try to grab whatever inside it.
      *if (thief > 999)
         You slit your razor with ease through the bottom sewing of the pocket
         and a large wallet drop at your hand.
      *else
         For some reason, the razor blade drops from your hand.
         At the moment you pick it up back, the businessman's already gone.
```[/details]

----------
[quote="JohnAlanLarge, post:1, topic:26043"]
Test the thievery stat to see if it occurs and then change the stat.
[/quote]

[details=c]```
Your eyes spot a precious opportunity upon a business man that's too busy 
holding his smartphone.
*choice
   #His left pocket is unusually full. Did he put all of his money there?
      *if (thief > 999)
         *set thief +1
         You slit your razor with ease through the bottom sewing of the pocket
         and a large wallet drop at your hand.
      *else
         *set intuition -999
         As you slit the pocket, a large sack of grains drop at your hand. You wonder for a moment.
         Why would a businessman bring some grains on work?
```[/details]

----------
[quote="JohnAlanLarge, post:1, topic:26043"]
Test the thievery stat to see if it occurs but only change the stat if they were successful.
[/quote]

[details=d]```
Your eyes spot a precious opportunity upon a business man that's too busy 
holding his smartphone.
*choice
   #It's been a long time since my last game. Let's see if I still got the move.
      *if (thief > 999)
         *set thief +1
         You slit your razor with ease through the bottom sewing of the pocket
         and a large wallet drop at your hand.
      *else
         When you're about to grab a razor blade, you realized that you didn't bring it with you.
         It appears it has been a really long time since your last game.
```[/details]

----------
Pay attention to the choices and the stats I altered, as those should be the good way at presenting your choices at various scenarios, IMO.

#4

I wouldn’t do that one. That could lead to a “rich get richer” situation where if you are already good, you get better.

Far better to have the success or failure modify a different stat (like money, or moral turpitude, or something).


Keeper of the Sun and Moon (WIP)
#5

Typically you test starting/established skills and alter morality and/or resource skills.


#6

Thanks very much for all the responses. Currently the game I’m working on uses three pairs of ‘opposed stats’:

Academic v Practical
Lawful v Criminal
Rationality v Insanity

At the moment I just have actions modifying the stats but–since I’m at the very early stages–haven’t put in any points where stat levels are tested or where choices depend on stat level. I’m currently thinking that–rather than testing the stats–I might just have different choices available based on the levels of stats.

Any further advice is gratefully received :slight_smile:


#7

This isn’t wrong but it creates a game where players will expect that higher level stats likely lead to better rewards.

*selectable_if (thievery_level > 3) #Pick the lock.
*selectable_if (thievery_level > 2) #Manipulate the lock.
*selectable_if (thievery_level > 1) #Break the lock.

Why would I choose to break or manipulate the lock if I can pick it? And how would my overall stats change when the action always leads to one outcome?


#8

That’s a very good point - I want the stakes to get higher as the game progresses so I’m fine with the choices being better when the stats are higher; I think if I choose to go ahead with this course of action then I’ll have to introduce some more variety based on the choices.

In our example, perhaps if the lock is broken it summons some security guards whereas if it is picked then the thief can sneak through quietly?


#9

That sounds great. Just realize it reduces the ability to alter your secondary stats.

If I always select the best choice which uses my highest stat, when do I fail? Failure can alter secondary stats, making the game experience richer.

There’s no right or wrong here, but I want to give food for thought. It’s great you are putting thought into these design issues early in development.


#10

But then, if you have level 3, ever choose to break the lock?–you end up with choices that make no sense to choose in that case, and that’s like giving no choice at all.


#11

That’s a great idea - I love the thought of ‘failing forward’ to increase secondary stats, giving the player more of a reason to try and do stuff that doesn’t involve their primary ability. Many thanks :slight_smile:

I did once try writing a Choicescript game a long time ago, but I didn’t plan it enough or give it enough thought and jumped straight in, without a clear plan I eventually lost interest and moved on. I’m hoping this time that by being a bit more thorough and getting some stuff sorted upfront I can get a game finished (I’ve currently got one small scene written and the broad structure coded).


#12

Hmmm that’s true - I’ll have to have a think about that one.


#13

Unless breaking has some other advantage – it’s faster, and you’re under time constraints? it lowers your Pent-Up Aggression stat allowing you to make better choices down the line?


#14

This could be a two or three part choice tree?
There would have to be some work on the design of this but…

  1. What do you want to do with the lock? (Pick / Manipulate / Break)
  2. For what reason? (For practice / I don’t have time / Frame someone)
  3. With what tool? (Thief’s tools / Specific key / A rock)