Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fighting Eleven #7: Meaningful choices

I'm stuck.

There's going to be a skill tree (or skill web, perhaps) for your players (cards) in F11. When you first recruit your player, he has four visible qualities:
--offensive yardage number (if you play the card when you have the ball)
--defensive yardage number (if you play the card when the opponent has the ball)
--positive quality (which could modify yardages, or cause turnovers, etc.)
--negative quality (could reduce yardages, etc.)

Your players are going to change each year, which means their "qualities" will be modified, and how much they change depends on how often you play them. So if they're inactive for a game, they don't get any experience. The more experience they get, and the more positive things that happen when they're played (like TD's on offense, or turnovers on defense), the more points you have to direct toward improvement each offseason.

Now, the tricky part.

I want these points to be available for purchasing upgrades, but I want the upgrades to be more interesting than "5% more yards" or something like that.

It's brutally difficult to do, though.

It's possible to distill ratings for players into three major categories: speed, strength, and intelligence. Almost any possible rating is some combination of those three attributes, so using them as the foundation makes sense.

As I dig into this, though, it's very hard to make upgrades seem unique.

If a player gets faster, they should gain more yards on more offense and close more quickly on defense, which reduces yards. Strength should break tackles and improve ball security (it's a mirror of those on defense). Intelligence should increase yardage on offense (better recognition of the defense, better instincts on hitting holes) and decrease yardage on defense (not biting on play fakes or receiver routes, etc.).

That's all way, way too similar.

This upgrade system is one of the critical components of the game, because playing a static card is boring and repetitive. Playing a card that lives and breathes and changes in meaningful ways is entirely different, and would be so much more interesting.

I think I have an interesting, engaging design for recruiting. Making the player cards dynamic and meaningful is the key to making the on-field action interesting, and I know I can work through the design issues.

I haven't done it yet.

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