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[Game/server] Minefall

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 16:59
by Astrobe
Minefall is inspired from a defunct MMO game, Firefall

Minefall uses relatively few mods, so at first it may look like MTG. However, it features various game mechanics that work together to provide a unique gameplay.

One of the major features of Minefall is that players have an energy bar that can be used in three different ways:
- to "levitate", an enhanced jump that can let players stay mid-air for a short time, or just jump very high or very far. Levitation enhances players' mobility very nicely.
- to fire various wands. We have two types of of "fireball wands", a teleportation wand that let players swap places with mobs or other players, plus a couple of other special wands.
- it also acts as a shield that protect players from mobs hits, fire or fall damage.

The energy pool and regeneration rate can be improved with armors. There are three tiers featuring each two types of armor that give more regeneration or more energy. Eating restores both HPs and energy (e.g. eating an apple restores 3 HP and 3 EP).

Another major feature is the dynamism of the environment: we have dynamic weather with thunderstorms. Particular events can provoke the permanent raise of the ocean (rare), start fires or create Melding patches.

"Melding" is an ever-expanding toxic gas. Players have some ways to fight against it, but keeping a large area clear of melding requires a team effort.

Except for (currently) one exception, all mobs in Minefall are hostile. Some are invasive and coordinated efforts for a full eradication. Common mobs don't drop anything. However, in the Melding spawn specific mobs that drop Mese shards, which is used to make wands and a few other special items.

Players can protect their buildings against stealing by collecting uncraftable blocks found only in ruins automatically generated on the map. Each biome feature specific blocks for ruins; some blocks (e.g. obsidian glass) are quite rare.

A new player typically starts with finding gravel and collecting sticks (from tree lives) to make a stone axe and a stone pick (or they can get them from other player shops, they are typically sold for seeds). With those basic tools they can start mining iron to get decent tools, a locked chest and flint-and-steel to get their own light in caves - there is no torches in Minefall; the easiest way to get make light is to burn wood (temporary, strong light) or ignite coal in stone (permanent, weak light).
From there, players can specialize as they wish in growing food (better for Android players who'll have a hard time fighting mobs), mining or exploration (find ruins, gold mines, high mountains for their diamonds), or fighting Melding mobs for Mese.

The game is geared towards cooperative PvE. In addition to the features described above that sometimes require coordinated actions, teleportation requires you to have trusted friends to activate your teleportation beacon; trade plays a major role because each activity typically gives only one type of resource.

Player Kill is allowed although the general difficulty of the game makes it a bad idea until you are at least a bit wealthy (which makes it more fun because of the high-end armors and more free use of the various magic wands).

The game is not published yet due to a lot of mixing, matching and editing of existing mods, which require a check for license conformance - and also because it is a WIP. It is however playable on my server when it is up - generally on the evenings (UTC) and weekends.

Re: [Game/server] Minefall

PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 13:38
by Astrobe
I left aside an important question in the first post because it deserves a separate post: what is the end-game?

As a game designer, your first answer is "I'll make sure it takes a very long time to get there". This can lead to rely excessively on "grinding" or "farming" (mobs). But rather than rejecting the idea because many bad MMOs abuse this, lets push it to the limit: make sure it never happens; a never ending-game.

Some MMOs achieve this, by adding more and more content to the game with DLCs or expansions. However, I don't have the resources for this. Furthermore given that game clients have to download the assets from the server, there's also a technical limit to how much content you can put in an MT game.

So it is unavoidable that players eventually get to the point that they have everything. Making it a long process is fine as long as they enjoy the journey, but there has to be something at the end of the road.

The answer I have found is role-playing. Once players have exhausted the content of the game, they can start to add more content in the form of stories, quests, even (virtual) politics. One of the reasons people play MMOs is for the interaction with other players, after all: cooperation, competition, knowledge sharing or just chit-chat.

Veteran players have the resources and the knowledge to help newcomers and beginners. So veteran players can easily act as quest or job givers. For beginners, interacting with a veteran player who plays the role of a local lord can be more satisfying than interacting with an NPC for a "get 20 rabbit skins for a better sword" quest. Veteran players can benefit from this interaction too, aside from just the fun of interacting with other players, by offloading tasks that are boring to them to other players.

Actually, Minefall does nothing new here: many MMOs feature player guilds. But because it is often used to just add more contents (exclusive guild items, buildings, etc.), it's easy to overlook the role-playing aspect. Minefall doesn't have a "join guild" button, it tries to make it happen naturally.

Minefall includes various little features to support role-play and team-play, like the absence of name tags above player heads (the name it visible if you point at the player at close range only), the absence of NPCs or admin shops, the fact that you don't choose your skin ("you are not your character, you play a character"), chat channels, player shops, reputation points, recall beacons (teleporters) activated by another player, the absence of manual or help system, the fact that you have to receive your own crafting guide from another player.

Solo players can do with minimal interaction with others. For sure the game will be much more difficult (a lot of things don't work like in MTG so they'll have to figure out that and certainly experience slow progress or regressions because the game can be unforgiving), but that's sometimes what this kind of player is looking for.

Re: [Game/server] Minefall

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 21:59
by texmex
The ideas behind this game are pure gold! Perhaps because they sound similar to my ideas… Are you still working on it? Did licensing and mod logistics steal momentum?

Re: [Game/server] Minefall

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 18:28
by Astrobe
texmex wrote:The ideas behind this game are pure gold! Perhaps because they sound similar to my ideas… Are you still working on it? Did licensing and mod logistics steal momentum?

Oh hi, sorry for the late reply.

I haven't touched it since May. The loss of momentum has more to do with burn-out caused by forcing myself a bit to play it everyday.

However, I did rebase it on MTG 5.0 and introduced some changes I didn't talk about here.

First of all, the melding thing is gone. Among other things, it restricts exploration and focuses on mob fighting too much. More specifically too much for Android players that can't fight really well, especially because in Minefall an important aspect of fights is to use your mobility to avoid getting hit.

Android players are not really my original "target audience", but let's be real: 90% of players that connect to obscure servers such as mine are on mobile devices. They are also players that are more inclined to build stuff; people who just want to fight less so. I don't use WorldEdit, I really want to see people build stuff and trade with them.

I implemented the idea I exposed in the Reasons to build home thread: players can build "inns" in which NPCs can spawn, with whom you can trade (once) bread or wheat for ores or random lootboxes. A player that builds a lot of inns can slowly accumulate stuff; for luxuries they can trade with other players.

Another minor change is that since the game forces players less to fight, the shielding effect of energy (now mana) is gone. I found out that it was too good so one rarely had to eat food to heal.

One major change I've made is to make ores distribution uniform; that means that on can find ores on the cliffs of mountains. I've also made it so that there's only one ore-with-stone node. The ore one actually gets is (weighed) random (using the drop/rarity property list for nodes). It protects from the ore detection cheat, and the randomness balances out the fact that ore stones are more "visible". But the really nice thing about it is that caves and cracks in mountains or cracks under the sea are now worth exploring.

Because ores are everywhere but much more scattered, I had to adjust mobility. Each armor element gives a specific buff (mana for helmet, damage reduction for chest-plate, jump height for leggings and walk speed for boots) but also slows down the player. So you can build "tank" or "glass cannon" or for fast travel ("jungler" I guess?).

Additionally, players can craft (moderately expensive) beacons that can be used as a teleport-home device (but teleporting is expensive) or shape-shift (more affordable).
Shape-shifting allows the players to transform into a flying "monster" (actually the Shadow from Doom's mob). But in this state, they cannot fight or dig.

I have also implemented a three-levels progression system to let players decide if they want to risk more to get more:
- At Beginner level players keep their inventories if they die, but they don't have access to protection and armor.
- At Regular level "bones" are activated. Players gain access to protection and armor.
- At Advanced level "bones" is set to "drop". Players have access can teleport home and shape-shift at beacons.

Players can level up by "paying" a moderate fee (a tin block for Regular, a diamond block for Advanced).

One pending problem I have is that at generation time, ruins and dungeons are populated with lootboxes. But they will eventually be picked up by players. Automatic repopulation seems difficult to do right (avoid exploits and bugs), so currently I'm looking for ways to encourage veteran players to do it. If nothing else, planting from time to time lootboxes in a nearby ruin or dungeon would lure players near your own stuff, which could be advantageous given the way ABMs work. But only players who care about the game would that extra work for so little gain.