Your opinion about stats in dating sims

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Ghost of Crux
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Re: Your opinion about stats in dating sims

#16 Post by Ghost of Crux » Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:05 pm

(Peeks head back into the room, finger raised) AND ONE MORE THING.

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

I was just thinking-- for those who has too much time and enough energy, I think allowing the player to "participate" in activity with insufficient points could be a thing that could make this a bit more organic too. For example, joining some extracurricular activities you're not that good with. In most cases you won't be allowed to join unless your stats are high enough, but why not allow the player to join anyway? They'll underperform, sure, but that lets us develop the love interests more-- for example, one could be supportive and tries to help you, others might get a bit exasperated at you but help anyway... it can be a way to implement an after school activity that doesn't just feel like "I'm raising the romance points and stat" but more like blargh I have after school activities but eh at least I'll get to hang out. Maybe have one choice in the short scene, and have the love interest take note of improvements the mc made.
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Re: Your opinion about stats in dating sims

#17 Post by Katta » Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:39 pm

Nephalos wrote: In the VN Roommates (available on Steam) they use a hybridized system, where your character gains points which influence your relationship (personal stats that can make you more relate-able to certain characters). Since an interactive schedule and some form of time management was involved, it added another aspect to the VN besides merely choices of dialogue. I thought it was interesting and added to the story.
Can you please elaborate more? What's exactly interesting in their system? I thought theirs was one of the most traditional and boringly grinding systems, the stats needed to get a romance were ridiculously high and they offered to buy the stats for additional money (which really shocked me) and if you didn't get enough stats the story was just left hanging. The only good thing being that studying/working is an activity relevant for the character development as well, not just something to get a romance but it'd be better if it had more content - more endings/events depending on your grades/work results etc.

Btw can everyone else name some games you're talking about too? I've started to think about different strategies of incorporating stats into a game and the one I plan to have in my game is this: you choose activities (jobs and classes) you like, meet some character through this activity (f.ex. your coworker/boss/etc.) and your relationship is built through dialog choices but at some moment in the story you just can't progress further without some skills/stats - f.ex. you want to help this character with their problem and for that you need your magic stat to be this and that or some other stat to be this and that (for an alternative way), so if you fail both ways this character "disappears", f.ex. is exiled and you can't meet them anymore. I guess this system may be irritating in it's own way, but it shouldn't give an impression that the love interest is only interested in stats, right? Personally I don't mind going to the same location to meet a character I like - and I think it's very natural too - but what do you think? And it seems that many games have this strategy, but in smaller games where each stat is bound to only one activity, it still may give the same impression (f.ex. Flowershop, even though it required right choices to get a romance, not only stats).

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Re: Your opinion about stats in dating sims

#18 Post by Googaboga » Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:47 pm

^Yeah, I wouldn't get the impression that the LI is into the stats most of all. It'd come off as the story requiring skills to continue rather than the LI requiring stats to be attracted to the MC.


I personally think this style of gameplay can be a lot of fun. But it's important to really pinpoint what specifically you want to accomplish by including gameplay and tailor the system for that rather than using the traditional style just because it's the standard.

Not surprisingly, the type of gameplay I like is the kind I'm using in my game. I went over everything I didn't like about stat raisers and created a system that avoided those problems in a way I was satisfied with. The things I didn't like and the way I changed them were;
-Not knowing how well you're doing in your stat-raising quest
When you need a large mass of stats by the end of the game it can be hard to tell early/mid game if you're doing well enough to reach the goal. In my system the goal is not to reach a high level of stats, but instead you have to make sure the stats don't get too low. So, you'll always be able to see if you're close failing or doing well because the stats you have that day are what matter, not the stats you'll have weeks/months down the road.

-Having to focus on raising just one or two stats and being able to ignore everything else
In this system stats were re-branded as 'Reputation' and you have to balance all six to remain in the game. Raising one will cause you to lose points with another and if any type of reputation gets too low it'll decrease the others and eventually lead you to lose. Which mean you'll have to do a back and forth balancing act.

-Being able to find a set of choices that can be repeated week after week
I added one event that is different or not there at all depending on the week and a couple situations each week that are entirely random. This forces the player to adjust what they do for the changing event and simply react to the random situations as best they can, meaning it's not possible to select the exact same actions every week.

But randomness can be annoying, so I also included a way to increase your chances of getting the types of situations you want. But using that costs money and is only temporary. So, you'll have to decide if you want to take the chances as they are or earn some money and spend an activity setting temporary custom odds for the random situations.

-Having only one way to do things or having one of the options be the obvious best option
I like having make decisions and I don't like them to be too easy, so I tried to include more than one way to do most things and tried not to make one option superior to the others. For example, if you want to regain energy you can rest for a day or use an item. Resting takes up a day that could be used for something else while items don't take time to use, but cost money. Plus you can only use one item per week and the energy increasing item might not be the most important item to use. If you do decide to use that item there are then three ways to purchase it;
*Just buying it at normal price, convenient but pricey
*Trying your luck with a ticket machine to potentially get it for cheaper or losing more money than you would have if you just bought it
*Playing an arcade mini-game to win tickets to possibly get it cheaper but you'll have to try hard at a game and it'll take longer than simply buying it

Or you could even do a combination of the last two and get part of your tickets through luck and part through playing the mini-game. The bet choice really just depends on how you like to do things.

-Having to do and say very specific things to get the LI to like the MC
The LIs in this game don't care at all about the MC's reputation or even the dialog choices she makes. To win over a guy you just have to gain enough Affection with him and gaining affection happens simply by interacting with the guy. There are several ways to interact with him like sitting with him during lunch or texting him on the weekends and even the automatic group events count. All that matters is that the two have time to get to know each other.

Having to managing Reputation while still finding time to hang around your guy of choice is a challenge already, so there was no need for right/wrong choices or having a high amount of a specific kind of reputation.

-The stat-raising getting tiresome after multiple playthroughs
While I like stat-raising, it can certainly be a pain when you want to playthrough the game many times to get more events. That's why I included a special set of boyfriend options that each have a neat effect on the gameplay, such as refreshing the player's energy each week or increasing how effective items are. But it's a challenge to unlock those boyfriends and you have to maintain the relationship if you want to continue using their bonus. Plus if you want to date a main guy you can't stick with one of those boyfriends forever. So, it will make getting through the game faster, but it won't make things completely free of effort/thought.

-Endings being limited to one accomplishment
I get that in a VN you're going down one story line so a singular specific ending is understandable, but in stat raisers you can easily do a lot of things and progress with multiple characters. So the ending system I used doesn't lock you into just one scene. If you've met the requirements for multiple scenes you'll get all of those scenes.

And I'm probably forgetting a few things, but this post is long enough already 'X3.
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Re: Your opinion about stats in dating sims

#19 Post by Katta » Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:34 pm

Wow, you really gave a lot of thought to your system and I really like your ideas, except maybe this one because it sounds like spamming the guy with phone-calls until he agrees to date you - I hope the guys will take some initiative too (like you ask him out, he asks you and so on).
Googaboga wrote:-Having to do and say very specific things to get the LI to like the MC
The LIs in this game don't care at all about the MC's reputation or even the dialog choices she makes. To win over a guy you just have to gain enough Affection with him and gaining affection happens simply by interacting with the guy. There are several ways to interact with him like sitting with him during lunch or texting him on the weekends and even the automatic group events count. All that matters is that the two have time to get to know each other.
I also found the idea of LIs giving you buffs very intriguing until you said that these were temporary boyfriends - it sounds morally dubious, I wouldn't want to do this in the game unless it's really in MC's character (she is manipulative and ready to do anything to gain power, this sort of thing)

So, you say that you need stats to maintain reputations and that reputations doesn't affect romance options, I'm really curious how they affect MC's life then - can you get into different uni's/get your dream job based on your interests?

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Re: Your opinion about stats in dating sims

#20 Post by Fox Lee » Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:07 pm

ThePirate wrote:
fuicchi wrote:maybe everytime you go fishing you get trivias that can become conversational materials for the fisherman's son?
That's similar to my idea of it, as you said, when your stats determine your affection with a character it just seems like they're not interested in your protagonists personality, but numbers instead. However, if raising a certain stat enough would 'unlock' new dialogue options it would seem more natural, and like they're actually interested in your (in regards to the studious boy liking smart girl example) intelligence, rather than your intelligence stat.
I think that's a great take on it. I suspect the reason stats start feeling like numbers rather than being connected to your personality, is because if they don't change the way you act or speak, they become "informed ability" (something we are told is so. but never see demonstrated).

So if I take my clumsy protagonist and send her to dance lessons, I don't want to see her keep falling over her own feet because that's her pre-assigned character trait. If I my naive C-student protagonist starts studying her butt off, those new smarts should be reflected in how she interacts with others (especially the smug smart guy), not just set a flag for her to pass or fail an exam event. And they should probably ALL build confidence, which is something most otome protagonists are dreadful at, because it's not a desirable self-insert trait I guess? :\

It also frustrates me when every guy desires his own traits. It makes some sense, sure, but that's not always how it works - and I usually prefer contrasting couples. Like, an athletic protagonist being cheered on by a shy, bookish love interest is more interesting to me than two nerds sharing a study session. That can make things hard, though! You'd need to work harder to signal what the different love interests like. So, I guess I'd rather see a mix of matching (same interests) couples and complementary (different tastes/skills that go well together) couples in a game.

I also like your idea of treating romance progression as separate to whatever the stats represent. I've had a superhero dating sim bouncing around in my head lately, which would work on that principle - stats might appeal to a certain love interest or give you extra opportunities to talk to them (or better responses when you do), but ultimately it's still dialogue choices that determine who you can "win" with, while the stats are mostly about how you do in the field.

I think Magical Diary works like that - I haven't seen its code or anything, but I never got the impression that the other characters cared about my stats more than about what I said to them. There are definitely some stat-based opportunities for interacting with various characters, but they were mostly for the dungeon sequences, not the romance tracks.
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Re: Your opinion about stats in dating sims

#21 Post by Googaboga » Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:14 pm

@Katta
Aha, yes, I would not advise someone copy this exact formula for their own game as I really took to heart the idea of tailoring the system to match my game and my game is not a romance game. It is a dating sim, but there is no romance to be found in it. It's mainly about comedy. But some of the general concepts could be helpful C:.
Wow, you really gave a lot of thought to your system and I really like your ideas, except maybe this one because it sounds like spamming the guy with phone-calls until he agrees to date you - I hope the guys will take some initiative too (like you ask him out, he asks you and so on).
Thank you ^^.

You'll likely only be able to call/message the guy once per week. You gain affection through sitting together during lunch, texting, going on dates, 'overall' actions, 'individual' actions, group events, and working at the same part-time job. So gaining affection isn't limited to one thing.

The main guys will not take any initiative when it comes to the relationship, in fact they will openly resist (except for the one guy who's an obnoxious suck up). They're basically the worst. No sane person should want to date them in real life. But that's what I was aiming for 'cause it's fun.

I also found the idea of LIs giving you buffs very intriguing until you said that these were temporary boyfriends - it sounds morally dubious, I wouldn't want to do this in the game unless it's really in MC's character (she is manipulative and ready to do anything to gain power, this sort of thing)
It is meant to reflect the MC. The MC is a egotistical, self-absorbed, shallow jerk making her a perfect match for the awful, awful main boyfriend options.
So, you say that you need stats to maintain reputations and that reputations doesn't affect romance options, I'm really curious how they affect MC's life then - can you get into different uni's/get your dream job based on your interests?
Basically, the MC's goal in the game is to get a boyfriend, however her parents will not allow her to attend this school if she makes everyone there hate her like at her last school. So, the stat part of the gameplay is just a challenge for the MC and the player, not the actual end goal. However, taking part does have some positives such as unlocking new date locations, unlocking those special boyfriend options, etc.
Last edited by Googaboga on Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your opinion about stats in dating sims

#22 Post by Fox Lee » Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:22 pm

Ghost of Crux wrote:While on that note-- I'd also like it if you actually GAIN STATS WHILE HANGING OUT WITH LI. Like I MEAN I WANT THIS. Hanging out with a jogger LI and getting little tidbits like "you know, [insert random bits of tips here]". In real life people get closer because they share knowledge on what they like, and it's basically conversation fodder later on. I'd really like to see this used that way, too. You discussing how to cook with a hobbyist in a hanging out, they give you tips, you try it out later and the next time you hang out with them you can be like, "oh I tried out the tips you told me last time, and it was great!". Insert a hefty amount of affection points, because there's few things people love more than having their tips acknowledged and tried.
OOH I AM SO INTO THIS~ What a great idea! In most of these sims, where you go or which stat you raise is almost always about wanting to hang out with a particular LI, so why not skip that layer of pretence and just ask who you want to spend time with? It demonstrates that the love interests actually know stuff about their designated hobbies, too, which is a nice bonus. Definitely gonna try use this, when I do a stat-raising sim!
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