time-limited games

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jack_norton
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time-limited games

#1 Post by jack_norton » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:51 pm

What do you think of those?
I mean not an obscure, hidden timer that will trigger gameover, that would sucks. But for example I'm wondering if to use that for my Vera Blanc game. For example you discover that a serial killer is going to kill his next victim on a specific day, and you have XX in-game days to stop him. If you fail, is gameover.
This would be more realistic, but could also piss people off I think :mrgreen:
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Re: time-limited games

#2 Post by chronoluminaire » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:55 pm

I don't see why that would irritate people. It seems like a natural way to provide a time limit, and some tension and urgency to the plot as well.
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Re: time-limited games

#3 Post by Koveras » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:06 pm

If we are speaking only in context of visual novels, I don't see how this is different from any other story branching. ^^ You either pick the story correct path and "win" the chase, or you pick the wrong one and get one of the numerous Bad Ends. In this case, a "time limit" is just another way to metaphorically kill the player character, like a mortal danger or an important date. Real time limit, like in the original Prince of Persia, only makes sense if the player has real freedom of movement and the game world reacts to their actions rather than guide them. Because time only becomes a gameplay factor if a player can waste it pretty much anywhere. But, as you've correctly observed, doing it the PoP way in a VN would only serve as a frustration factor.
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Re: time-limited games

#4 Post by jack_norton » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:06 pm

chronoluminaire wrote:I don't see why that would irritate people. It seems like a natural way to provide a time limit, and some tension and urgency to the plot as well.
Well I was thinking because if the task is difficult, people might have to restart from last saved game (before the time-limited event) until they make it through. With my VN/adventure games so far you had only to find out what to do correctly, but without any time limit...
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Re: time-limited games

#5 Post by jack_norton » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:09 pm

Ah btw I didn't mean "real-time" limit. Not "finish the step in 2hours of real-time to win". But using in-game time, like days/weeks. I don't like to make game too frustrating but in certain cases (and in specific games like a mystery one), if done correctly, I think could help make the game more thrilling to play :)
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Re: time-limited games

#6 Post by PyTom » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:26 pm

Haven't you already been doing this in your games? Both Spirited Heart and Flower Shop have time limits in them.
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Re: time-limited games

#7 Post by jack_norton » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:19 pm

Yes you're right, I explained myself badly :) I meant some sort of "announced sudden-death". For example in spirited heart you know from beginning that you're going to play for 10 years, while in this case the game follows a normal story and then in a certain points of the plot you would have a time limit to accomplish a task, otherwise you would see game over (which could also be considered "an ending", but not really).
Maybe there isn't much difference indeed from what I've been doing already. I don't know if anyone here remembers the old horror game "Personal Nightmare" ? That game was yes frustrating (in some scenes you had to do specific task to avoid getting killed) but also very cool for me.
In summary: I'm trying to find the right balance between "exciting" and "frustrating" :mrgreen:
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Re: time-limited games

#8 Post by papillon » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:20 pm

some things to consider:

1. How far can you get on the wrong track? It sucks to think you're doing everything right and fail at the last minute because you ran out of time. (If there are particular short scenes where you have to do everything right or fail forever, that's less bad, because you only have to repeat that short scene until you get it right.)

2. Is there enough wiggle room to correct early mistakes, or are you completely doomed if you screwed up at the beginning, making the rest of your game a waste of time? (If your screwup means you *lose* quickly rather than waste a lot of time on an unwinnable path, that's different.)

3. How interesting are the lose conditions? Can you succeed in some goals while losing in others? Do you-as-player learn anything from the failure?

Realistic or not, it would completely suck to miss a clue at the beginning of the game, spend twenty days wandering around lost, and then get slapped with nothing but a "YOU LOSE" at the end. Many of your players would want to throttle you.

On the other hand, getting a little bit behind and frustratedly dogging your opponent's steps and then finding a difficult chance to make up for your mistakes and save the day at the last minute could be dramatic. Or if you failed to reach the killer in time because you chose to get sidetracked by something else interesting (like, say, a bank robbery instead of the serial killer) and your ending shows you transferring to another department, it was an alternate ending rather than a waste of time.

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Re: time-limited games

#9 Post by jack_norton » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:46 pm

No they would be short scenes/sequences. And I was thinking something like this:
<some spoilers>
You're in a train and you notice some suspects. You can:
1) investigate more and discover that they put a bomb in your coach:
1a) disarm the bomb (if you're skilled enough) thus saving other people too
1b) call for help / warn the people but you wouldn't make in time and the bomb would explode. <end>
2) not investigate more but decide to jump off the train
3) ignore the suspects, bomb explodes <end>
it would completely suck to miss a clue at the beginning of the game, spend twenty days wandering around lost, and then get slapped with nothing but a "YOU LOSE" at the end.
I agree and I would never do that: but in practice there could be some points in the game where several events can happen that COULD lead to death but it would happen shortly after (I'll probably warn the player somehow through hints).
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Re: time-limited games

#10 Post by Der Tor » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:31 am

I think as long as it is in-game time and not real time it would be cool. If it would be real-time it would suck, cause i would be getting totaly nervous and hectic and stuff...

Also say if i decide to not look under the chair or whatever and thus don't discover the bomb and then you just go and a few days later it suddenly makes booom and you are dead and don't even know why... that would suck too...

But as long as the threat is clearly anounced and it is in-game time it would propably be awesome...
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Re: time-limited games

#11 Post by netravelr » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:45 pm

I'd say as long as you let the player know and you give them some allowance for failure (extra time for them to look around or do one or two things wrong) then it's all good. The job of a designer is to empower the player, and at some point giving them the ability for failure can make them feel much cooler when they actually finish the problem. But, I also have to say that players in my experience like the illusion of danger far more than actual danger. Just make sure that you recommend they save before anything happens if it's near the middle/end of the game in case something goes wrong and that it isn't something like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's (old text game) having to pick up some mail at the beginning of the game or you loose at the very end.
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Re: time-limited games

#12 Post by Adorya » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:50 am

Play Heavy Rain so you will know how to make a bad choice into something interesting :mrgreen:

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Re: time-limited games

#13 Post by jack_norton » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:18 am

Adorya wrote:Play Heavy Rain so you will know how to make a bad choice into something interesting :mrgreen:
Bah they should have made a PC or at least an Xbox version of that game! :evil:
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Re: time-limited games

#14 Post by netravelr » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:02 am

jack_norton wrote:
Adorya wrote:Play Heavy Rain so you will know how to make a bad choice into something interesting :mrgreen:
Bah they should have made a PC or at least an Xbox version of that game! :evil:
Hey, if you were paid the big bucks to work on one platform you would too. I mean, most of the time developers make their largest amount of money through their publisher and if they want to cut a deal like that giving a company more money to do things, then by all means let them feed their kids. :-)

But, if you're looking for a game similar to Heavy Rain in terms of time meaning something I'd check out their previous game Indigo Prophesy (in the US, Fahrenheit in Europe) Steam recently had a sale where the game was only $2.50; but I remember playing the game back when it first came out. Quite excellent in my opinion and a lot of my design inspiration comes from the game. (aside from the ending, of course) It's also available for Xbox, PS2, and PC so it's totally something to look into.
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Re: time-limited games

#15 Post by LVUER » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:21 am

jack_norton wrote:
Adorya wrote:Play Heavy Rain so you will know how to make a bad choice into something interesting :mrgreen:
Bah they should have made a PC or at least an Xbox version of that game! :evil:
They said that it's because only PS3 hardware capable running the game. No other console have enough strength to do that (though I believe high-end PC, I mean really HIGH, should be able to beat PS3 just fine)
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