Skills Revamped

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Skills Revamped

Guys, I've been thinking a lot about the way skills are in this game. It's rogue-like. A pretty new kind of genre where you're literally meant to die. A lot. I hate it. This is a way to bring the RPG element into Neo Scavenger and pull it away from the rogue-like's that indie devs seem to have fallen in love with this past year. I've put a lot of effort into this, and I'm hoping I've balanced it all out well. Always welcome to criticism (and suggestions), of course. Let's get started:

Players will still be asked to choose 4 starting skills which will start them at level 1, as well as traits which will allow them to choose more skills. After you finish creating your character, this is where things get fun.

Hacking
I propose a very small minigame every time you want to hack an electronic device (think ratchet & clank). I would like to see devices with varying degrees of difficulty. Take an iSlab. When you loot an iSlab and turn it on, maybe you'll get an "iSlab (4-bit)" referring to password length. I'm thinking that there could be 4-bit, 8-bit, and 16-bit passwords to correspond to hacking levels 1, 2, and 3. Now to the perks.
Level 0: Hacking a 4-bit password is moderately difficult, an 8-bit password should be very hard, a 16-bit password should be nearly impossible.
Level 1: Hacking a 4-bit password is easy, 8-bit will be moderate, and 16-bit should be very hard.
Level 2: Hacking an 8-bit password is easy, a 4-bit password will be ridiculously easy, a 16-bit password will be very hard
Level 3: Hacking a 16-bit password will be moderately difficult, anything lower will be ridiculously easy.

Players gain EXP in Hacking by: Hacking devices and upgrading them. More EXP will be awarded for hacking then upgrades.

Medic
Level 0: Player heals at 100% speed.
Level 1: Player heals at 125% speed. Blood meter shows up on condition screen.
Level 2: Player heals at 150% speed. Player can predict +-3 turns when meat will spoil. Poison condition advances slower and has less effect.
Level 3: Player heals at 200% speed. Other Medic-specific status bars appear. Player predicts food spoilage with complete accuracy. Players can survive Poison 3 condition, provided they stay in one hex and have enough food and water to just "ride it out". If an enemy surrenders to the Player, they have an option to treat their wounds. Clean rags and painkillers will not be subtracted from the players inventory, nor the opponent. Treated enemies will become permanently friendly towards the player, in addition to leaving some gear on the ground (randomized from their inventory).
The healing speeds will need to be balanced, those numbers are basically just placeholder.

Players gain EXP in Medic by: Bandaging themselves (dirty or clean). Sterilizing rags. Sterilizing wounds. Treating surrendered enemies. Taking pills (needs to be coded so this can't be abused). Choosing to help injured scavengers during random hex encounters. Passive healing on wounds. Among other things that I can't think of at the moment (been up for 20 hours and my body won't go to sleep, I tried).

Hiding
Level 0: No benefit.
Level 1: Player is 12.5% less likely to be seen by the enemy in combat while hidden. Hiding in a hex will make you 25% harder to detect by enemies. If chosen as a starting skill, player will be able to hide from the Dogman, ambush, and kill it without injury. Camp concealment stat is slightly boosted.
Level 2: Player is 25% less likely to be seen by the enemy in combat while hidden. Hiding in a hex will make you 50% harder to detect by enemies. If the player fires a ranged weapon or tries to melee attack while hidden, it will be a sneak attack. Sneak attack are like flurries except backwards; the player will need a moment to collect himself and gather strength or steady aim, before attacking. Sneak attacks will do 110% damage with a 10% increased chance of having a critical/serious wound. Sneak attacks will always drop a players 'hidden' status, but if it hits enemies will be 'startled' and will get at least 3 distance away before retaliating. Camp concealment stat is boosted even slightly more and visible in the camp screen.
Level 3: Player is 50% less likely to be seen by the enemy in combat while hidden. Hiding in a hex will make you 100% harder to detect by enemies. Sneak attacks now do 115% damage and a 25% increased chance of a critical/serious wound. Camp concealment is boosted again, by a larger amount.
I have an idea that will make camp concealment actually relevant. When you loot a hex, there is a bar telling you how high of a chance you have to get loot. I think enemies should have a hidden looting skill. They have to loot hexes like players, but instead of basing loot drops from gear and the 'Strong' skill, it is based from their looting skill. This way, enemies also won't waste durability of things like crowbars and lighters (not sure if they even do). Now, your camp has a random chance of showing up in the enemy's loot. The higher their looting skill the more likely they will see your camp, but the higher your concealment rating the less likely they will find it, effectively negating a higher looting skill. However, If they do discover your camp, due to the wonders of rand();, they will enter and initiate attack, or loot you if you're asleep. Probably causing you to die from the Merga Wraith.

Players gain EXP in Hiding by: Performing sneak attacks. If an enemy dies from a sneak attack players gain more EXP (possibly double or triple). Every turn they are hidden during combat (extra EXP is earned for becoming hidden after being seen). Every turn they are hidden in a hex. If enemies fail to get your camp in their loot.

Melee
Level 0: No benefit
Level l: Players accuracy, wound severity, and defense are slightly boosted.
Level 2: Players accuracy, wound severity, and defense are slightly boosted again. Players gain the 'Leg Trip' combat move.
Level 3: Players accuracy, wound severity, and defense boosts are triple level 1's boost.

Players gain EXP in Melee by: Hitting an enemy. Severity of the wound (wounds do not stack on each other, they increase in severity. ie. a chest bruise turning into a fractured rib does not count as both separately, a player will only gain the difference to equal a fractured rib). Successfully dodging and parrying.

Eagle Eye
Level 0: No benefit
Level 1: Players can see 1 hex further than usual, players do not discover hills and forests unless 2 hexes away.
Level 2: Players discover hills and forests normally. During Dusk, players have normal vision for 1 turn.
Level 3: Players have amazing eyes. Normal vision during dusk. At night, players can see 1 hex away, moves-per-turn is unaffected.

Players gain EXP in Eagle Eye by: Discovering new hexes.

Tracking
Level 0: No benefit
Level 1: Players can examine tracks (doesn't cost moves) and generalize the animal that made them. Everything else is normal.
Level 2: Players can examine tracks and guess the animal that made them (they will make mistakes). Players can hide all their tracks in a hex.
Level 3: Players can examine tracks and knows what animal made them (never wrong). Players can hide all their tracks in a circle 1 hex radius away.

Players gain EXP in Tracking by: Examining tracks. Spying on creatures. Hiding their tracks.

Athletic
Level 0: No benefit
Level 1: Normal benefits of perk, except that you're less likely to run 4 or 5 distance when sprinting away in combat.
Level 2: Fatigue slightly less when traveling and attacking. More likely to sprint 4 or 5 distance in combat. A few more Run points (I'm thinking like 2). Run still uses 0.50 moves.
Level 3: Fatigue even less when traveling and attacking. More likely to sprint 5 distance in combat. More Run points. Run uses 0.40 moves.

Players gain EXP in Athletic by: Sprinting away in combat. Traveling. Attacking. Running in overworld. Restoring fatigue by sleeping.

Metabolism
Metabolism will be removed as a skill. Instead, it will be replaced by a slider on the conditions screen. Eating and drinking will move the slider to the right, healing is increased. Starvation and dehydration will move the slider to the left, healing is decreased.

I will not be using set percentages from this point forward as I'm nearing my 22nd hour without sleep and unable to properly balance thigns, but I want to finish this before trying to sleep again.

Strong
Level 0: No benefit
Level 1: Players can carry slightly more weight. Do slightly more melee damage. Enemies can become afraid of the player if using a melee weapon and surrender or flee.
Level 2: Players can carry more weight. Do more melee damage. Players unlock 'Create Obstacle' in combat, low chance to damage enemies with medium damage, medium chance to knock down enemies. Enemies are more afraid of player if using a melee weapon and more likely to surrender or flee.
Level 3: Players can carry maximum weight. Do maximum melee damage. 'Create Obstacle' has a medium chance to damage enemies with medium damage, high chance to know down enemies. Enemies are instantly afraid of the player if using a melee weapon and more likely to surrender or flee. If the player also has Tough Level 3, all enemies but Dogmen and The Merga Wraith have a high chance to start combat further away from the player, may instantly surrender if the player is within 10 distance.

Players gain EXP in Strong by: Hitting enemies with melee weapons. Traveling while burdened. Having enemies surrender to the player.

Tough
Level 0: No benefit
Level 1: Players can slightly handle more pain. Have a slightly higher immune system. Slightly less likely to bleed from a wound. Tough Level 1 and higher has the same scaling effect to make enemies flee or surrender that Strong has.
Level 2: Players can handle more pain. Have a higher immune system. Less likely to bleed from a wound. Unlocks 'Headbutt' in combat, low chance to do medium damage, medium chance to knock down enemies.
Level 3: Players can handle much more pain. Have a much higher immune system. Much less likely to bleed from a wound. 'Headbutt' has a medium chance to do medium damage, high chance to knock down enemies. If the player also has Strong Level 3, all enemies but Dogmen and The Merga Wraith have a high chance to start combat further away from the player, may instantly surrender if the player is within 10 distance.

Players gain EXP in Tough by: Taking hits. Surviving poison. Traveling while extremely tired. Headbutting enemies.

Trapping
Level 0: Players cannot create squirrel traps. Players can cure meat.
Level 1: Players will have the current abilities of the Trapping skill.
I don't really think this needs to be a skill because this is just about all I can do with it. I mean, I guess I could give players a higher chance to catch squirrels or some crap.

Players gain EXP in Trapping by: Curing meat. Looting with squirrel traps.

Botany
Level 0: No benefit
Level 1: The player can identify some berries by putting them in the crafting menu, they cost 0.10 moves per berry. The effects of eating poisonous berries is slightly lessened.
Level 2: The player can identify most berries. The effects of eating poisonous berries is lessened.
Level 3: The player can identify all berries. The effects of eating poisonous berries is greatly lessened. Combines well with Medic 3.

Players gain EXP in Botany by: Eating berries.

I'm really bored so I'm going to skip Lockpicking, Electrician, and Mechanic because they each have almost no functionality.

Ranged
Level 0: No benefit
Level 1: Players can create crude bows and arrows. Bows have low damage, arrows have medium damage. Slightly increased chance of hitting with ranged weapons. Slightly increased chance of scoring a critical hit/severe wound. Enemies can become afraid of the player if using a ranged weapon and surrender or flee. Enemies are more afraid of players using guns.
Level 2: Increased chance of hitting with ranged weapons. Increased chance of scoring a critical hit/severe wound. Enemies are more afraid of player if using a ranged weapon and more likely to surrender or flee. Enemies may instantly surrender or flee if the player is using a gun.
Level 3: Players can create quality bows and arrows. Bows have medium damage, arrows have high damage. Greater chance of hitting with ranged weapons. Greater chance of scoring a critical hit/severe wound. Enemies are instantly afraid of the player if using a ranged weapon and more likely to surrender or flee. If the player also has Tough 3 or Strong 3, all enemies but Dogmen and The Merga Wraith have a high chance to start combat further away from the player, may instantly surrender if the player is within 10 distance. Dogmen may flee if the player is using a gun.

Players gain EXP in Ranged by: Making bows and arrows. Hitting with a ranged attack. Scoring a critical hit/severe wound with a ranged weapon. Causing enemies to surrender to the player.

BBCode is a bitch! We should get one of those fancy forum editors with CTRL+ combos.
EDIT: for clarity

I'm not a fan of leveling of any kind, and that's mostly because it's a generic break between player experience and RPG factors. I prefer systems that simply limit the player's abilities rather than rewarding him for grinding away on the mouse wheel, but that isn't to say that all of your ideas are bad, or that 'unlockable' abilities shouldn't be in the game.

I think a compromise here would be a novice and veteran status in the character creation menu, where all abilities might start as novice and you can stack them (using two slots) to start with more experience in that field, unlocking unique combinations. That could be interesting.

I oops'd the forum

I really like improving skills by using them. It's much more realistic than getting XP by killing mobs with a sword to be able to raise the axe skill on the next level-up, so I can use that nice axe I found. However, I'm afraid that your suggestion is way too complicated for NEO Scavenger, and one of the games main features is to be grinding-free.

It's rogue-like. A pretty new kind of genre where you're literally meant to die.

"Rogue-like" refers to a game from 1980. The renaissance of Rogue-likes is probably a reaction on modern casual games being way too easy. Perma-death and difficulty are other important features many players appreciate.

Edit: Difficulty levels would be nice, though.

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool

Being able to edit the parameters for monster spawn as well as wound/infection lethality would sate my desire for the game to be harder or more challenging in some areas.

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I warned you about strange, mysterious, glowing ladies in forests bro. I told you dog.

SCP Foundation

I believe we had official conversation involving the dev on the forum, although it was quite some time ago. Certainly the idea warrants consideration and OP's shows quite some thinking done about it but there would be certain issues with the idea of exp/leveled skill system and even if those Dcfedor would overcome, implementation would be helluva of work - to make use of those levels, lots of mechanics plus nearly all and events using skills would have to be gutted.

With that in mind, I am not sure if we're at the stage of development where rewriting major chunk of the whole game would be a good idea, especially considering the plans to release the final version in the first months of the new year.

rewarding him for grinding away on the mouse

I was hoping we could have this system balanced for gameplay, but also balanced in EXP requirements and gains so that players wouldn't have to grind. I wanted players to level up their skills just by being "who they are". Of course there will be those guys that just have to get L3 in all their skills. I'm one of them haha

I think a compromise here would be a novice and veteran status

This is something to think about, simplying for the sake of coding. Would there be any way to get a veteran status on skills while in-game? I really want to see more RPG elements in Neo Scavenger.

I'm afraid that your suggestion is way too complicated for NEO Scavenger, and one of the games main features is to be grinding-free.

refer to top quote.

"Rogue-like" refers to a game from 1980.

Oops I guess I didn't do my homework haha

Certainly the idea warrants consideration and OP's shows quite some thinking done about it

Aww shucks.

That you guys for your feedback. But I'm also hoping Dan could pop in here for a bit. Shall we continue discussion?

The issue with leveling systems is that characters who are not 'maxed out' are essentially gimped in terms of game balance, which doesn't do anything to improve gameplay or fun-factor, and punishes players who don't want to grind.

This often results in the developers toning down the game's difficulty to compensate, or make the skills easier to acquire, or simply forcing players to grind away to complete it. All of these scenarios are bad news for different reasons. The purpose of a leveling system is to streamline the beginning, middle, and end phases of the game, and provide incentives to players in progress. Item availability (like ammunition, crafting materials, etc.) already establishes this staged or tiered structure, and does it better than any leveling system would.

On a final note, the other problem (with leveling) is that most games complete their story arc before you reach max level, or very shortly afterword, just when you're getting--finally--to 'the good stuff.' This is the ultimate slap in the face to a guy like me, who appreciates re-playability (the strong suit of the game medium). I think leveling systems are fundamentally bad design for games in general, and definitely a bad fit for this particular game. It's just unnecessary all the way around.

I do like the way the skill/trait system works. And i don't think revamping the system would be a great idea. I do however like the idea of adding a "veteran" or a simple + sign next to skills (maybe with a little event popup explaining it) after extended use related to said skills. Such as a really small buff to what that ability does. Not enough to really upset the balance of how they work but just a little "hey you have used that quite a bit here is a negligible buff." type of thing.

The same could be done with any of the negative traits. Again like with skills not nearly enough to offset them. Like learning to compensate with them by doing things that would relate to that trait and giving a really small reduction to the negatives that trait has.

Example for skills could be: Ranged. Ranged attacks get a 1-3% extra chance to hit.
Or a 1-3% extra chance for enemies chance to miss with ranged attacks.
Or +1 to ranged weapon range.

Trapping. Very very slight reduction in the rate in which cured meat spoils.
Or Slight increase to the effect the squirrel trap give you in scavenging a forest.

And for traits: Feeble. Slight reduction in the carry load debuff.
Or slight reduction to the melee effectiveness debuff.

Insomniac. After getting decent amounts of sleep it you get a little better at falling asleep.
Or slight decrease to the effectiveness of sleep debuff.

I think making the changes a bit more of a tweak to the percentages than a full upgrade would be less of a thing to grind for but more as a kind of a marker to your play style as you go along. It also doesn't require a complete system change-up. So you could say this would be an added feature not a change to the system.
I mean it makes sense that you get better with skills you use and make workarounds or compensate for negative traits you have to deal with.

Well just a suggestion anyway.

Meow

I think by far this is the best suggestion in this thread. It gives people who like to progress in their skills to have something to strive for, while still making sures the skills are always relevant and does not need grinding. The fact that leveling skills will not increase what you CAN do, but increase how well you do it.

I love the game the way it is now plz bluebottle games dont change it + this is a terrible idea that dreadedentity has come up with dont listen to him plz

Yah man.... rougelikes are one of the oldest types of games there are, the most basic of game types....

there not 'meant to kill you' there just random

and random leads to situations that can be rather hard.

There have been rouge like games before recently like dark cloud and .hack/slash games on the PS2.

One of the reasons rougelikes are popular with indi developers are there easier to make, rather than building each and every level of the game serten set pices are created and perameters for how they appear in relation to eachoter are set up instead.... then the game builds levels on it's own.

the rougelike nature of neo scavanger keeps the devs from having to pre-set all the scavaging locations and what loot there is to find, aswell as the spawning of all enemies.... instead it's all random.

Some times this can make for an easy game rather than a hard one, I just started one where everyone attacked me with unloaded guns and I found ammo for them.... so right away I'm half naked and heavily armed... wtf lol

Here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procedural_generation

Anyway

I like the idea of being able to learn skills over time, having access to all ablitlites eventually is nice....

Perhaps you could unlock the first level in new ones by using similar acts.... like getting mechanics from taking appart shoping carts

This is an amazing discussion, kudos to all participants.

I think that the idea he had, of making it so that what the player does, and how they choose to play can lead to developing new skills is brilliant, and fits wonderfully with the theme of Neo Scavenger. I think perhaps his system is in need of a bit of work, and likely a bit of simplification, primarily for ease of coding. But this strikes me as a great way to allow a greater degree of character development, as I find it difficult to believe that after months in the wilds that dear Phillip wouldn't begin to develop new skills.