Thursday, July 15, 2010

I have a minion

One of the defining features of a villain is their minions.  It is hardly appropriate for the first fight the heroes have to be with the final boss himself (unless he gets away, of course) so it is traditional for heroes to tangle with minions of the evil boss first.  Initially the minions are generally of the mindless, weak variety so that the heroes can plausibly gain experience and skill to defeat the more intelligent, dangerous minions and eventually the villain himself.  Yesterday I acquired my first minion, known variously as Gnome or Ziggyny.

I have been testing FMB as much as possible but in the past little while I have been heavily focused on the physical appearance and flow of the game and less on game balance.  Game balance is one of those bizarre things that has a correlation to the success of a game but the correlation isn't especially strong.  Diablo 2 for example was heinously unbalanced and yet was a smash success and War is spectacularly balanced while also being utter rubbish.  Due to this I know that having a balanced game is helpful but by far the most important thing about a game is that it is fun.  That is a tricky balance to strike since my mind so constantly focuses on the numbers behind the effects and not as much the fun factor.

The reason I say I have acquired a minion is that yesterday Ziggyny posted on his blog an analysis of some of the Artifacts in FMB.  He wrote up spreadsheets and built a simulator to iterate the effects of various Artifacts over many turns to develop a baseline for comparison.  The analysis he did was very useful and highlighted the fact that some of my Artifacts were simply out of line with others.  I ended up building my own spreadsheet today to do my own analysis and when I finally saw the numbers in front of me I was pretty shocked at how out of whack they were.  Now it should be noted that my 'way out of whack' is 'balanced on a razor's edge' in most games but my standards are irrationally high.  Based on this I went back and changed at least half of the Artifacts and Spells in the game.  Mostly things were easy to alter to fit my new designs but some of what I had in there had to be scrapped outright.

It feels strange to have someone working for me to forward my plans to take over the world.  I have had lots of people volunteer their expertise in financial or business matters when/if I reach the point of trying to actually sell this thing but only one has gone off on his own and worked on the game itself to a substantial extent.  Note that I am very grateful for the testing and suggestions I receive from all quarters but real minions go and build spreadsheets.  Unfortunately if a group of well meaning adventurers decide to end my evil plans I don't know that I can rely on Ziggyny to protect me though as he is rather small and uninterested in brawling.  Perhaps that will be a benefit as presumably if my enemies come to destroy me without levelling up by beating my minions I can defeat them handily.  I have work to do now:  My irrational overconfidence is already in place but the maniacal cackle needs some practice.

1 comment:

  1. I have watched Ziggyny tackle someone twice his size...I'd be scared of him!