Monday, October 24, 2016

Fighting Eleven #8: A Complete Design

I finally came up with something last Thursday about the design that resolves my biggest remaining problem.

I mentioned this last week, but briefly, it was an issue with trying to create a meaningful upgrade system for the player cards.

I was focusing on player-level upgrades, with speed/strength/skill as the three categories, but progressing from one level to the next was very mathematical (+5% speed, for example, which corresponds to an X% reduction in yardage).

Dead end.

For some reason, though, something finally chipped loose.

Here's what I'm doing now. At the end of each season for a card, if they have upgrade points (gained from being actually used in a game), the user can choose either a player-level upgrade or a play-level strategy upgrade.

The player-level upgrade is what I discussed last week. For the play-level strategy upgrade, let's walk through an example.

I have a linebacker with upgrade points, and I choose the strategy upgrade. One of those upgrades--for a linebacker--will be "Blitz", so let's work with that.

When I play that linebacker, if I choose to do so, I can activate the "Blitz" ability. That will reduce the yards gained by a much greater amount than the player-level upgrade can (because it's at the team level, so it's more powerful).

However, every defensive strategic upgrade has a counter. So if the offensive card played by the user has the correct counter (in this case, it would be "Screen Pass"), then the offense gets a much bigger yardage bonus.

So there are two layers of upgrades: a fairly straight mathematical bonus, or a rock-paper-scissors attack which has a counter.

How does this all work in the game? When you're about to play a card (remember, user and AI cards are played simultaneously), you can activate either one of the bonuses (if you have both a player level bonus and a play level bonus available).

This adds some additional layers of strategy to card play, and I think they're interesting layers, too. If you want to build a team that plays in a particular style (blitz heavy, air attack offense, etc.), you can get specific play upgrades that support that style. So different teams with different upgrades will play differently , as they should.

There are some other possibilities, too, and here's a brief look.

I'm also thinking about adding "team" experience points as a pool that the user can use on any player. So if your team outperforms during the season, or in specific situations, that can earn universal experience points in addition to player-specific points.

In the offseason, you can supplement individual player experience points by dipping into the universal pool.

How can that be meaningful? Well, it is very meaningful if you can add an additional bonus by position if all players at that position have certain upgrades.

Here's an example. You have two linebacker cards, and let's say that if you get the "Blitz" upgrade for both of them, you activate the "Sack Attack" bonus, which gives the card additional power. So you might spend your universal experience points to chase these "chained" bonus.

Or something like that. It lives you lots of decisions and lots to chew on.

I very much like how this could play out in the game. Depending on field position, score, and cards remaining, there will be situations where you don't want to use the play bonuses, because they're more risky. In other situations, you'll absolutely use the play upgrade because you're desperate to stop a drive, etc.

That's pretty much it, for now. I think that gets me to a point where I can essentially lock down the game design and call it complete.

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