Thursday, May 24, 2012

RISK Legacies and Diablo III

Playing more RISK Legacy. Got my name on the board. Friggen Finally. The game is continuing to update, and now there's a faction of mutants on the board. Figures that we'd end up nuking each other before we managed to put the world capital on the board. I'm still 1/7 amongst four of us, so I'm still doing worse than average. Grr. Barbarossa is up to three signatures now.

Also? Playing Diablo III. Having a great time playing it, it's a wonderful game etc, etc. Don't intend to elaborate on it much, except for this bit of inspiration. Naturally it gets me thinking about... math. Yeah, who didn't see that coming? Allow me to elaborate.

Diablo III has numerous monsters that spawn other monsters. As long as you stand around like an idiot that portal device will keep summoning imps, or that doom bat nest will keep popping out doom bats. Pretty cool and all, except there's a part of me that wants to just stand around, waiting for them to spawn enemies for me, and then just kill those enemies. The sweet EXP without having to go running about and all. It's a case of cross incentives because pretty obviously what the game wants you to be doing is running about and all, killing other, more varied things.

How do they solve this? Generally by making the enemies spawn at a slow enough rate that it's quicker just to blow up the nest and go searching. (And that's not terribly slow, given the nature of the Diablo games). In Diablo II at least (I haven't checked this in Diablo III yet; having too much fun killing things) when a Fallen Shaman would resurrect a Fallen, the already killed monster would grant you no more experience.

How would I solve this? Math. There are ways to sum up infinite series of numbers that (so long as they're smaller htan one) gives you an actual number when you're done. Image!It's a geometric series, and I think you can get how it works by looking at that picture. So this is how I'd set up my monster generator. The generator itself is worth a certain amount of EXP. The first monster (or wave of monsters) would be worth 1/2 that amount, the second 1/4th and the third 1/8th and so on. Then, when you finally get sick of the diminishing returns and blow up the monster generator, you find that it's worth the sum rest of the square. So the experience gains for that monster and it's spawn are fixed at a given number no matter how long you have waiting, and thus you're pushed to kill the thing quicker and be on your way.

There's a problem with this setup; if you bury the mechanics in combat text (by the by, do I need to mention this is a strictly video game setup? Board game players would get bored entirely too quickly having to do all that dividing.) Anyways, what was I saying? Oh yeah, if you bury the mechanics where only careful parsing and some Science! will dig it out, your players generally won't, and might end up getting frustrated. "I stood there like, all day and still only got a measly 2000 exp!" It goes against that interface design stuff I was talking about.