Talk:Game design

From The Shartak Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Type (Faction) Balance axiom

Axiom: Outsiders and Natives should have access to the same items and skills. Or at least something equivalent.

I think this is a flawed axiom. Who says the two groups have the same skills, or access to the same equipment?! As long as there is balance (and the active player stats are very close) its probably better that each group gets a different game experience. --Jackel 00:16, 3 March 2006 (GMT)
Which is why I have stated that there should be an "equivalent" available. If the game is sided to suit one type over the other, is there a game? --Lint 00:23, 3 March 2006 (GMT)
My overriding opinion is that as long as one side isn't inheirently more "powerful" than the other, its ok if they don't have directly corresponding items and skills. Consider, the technological prowess of the outsiders vs. the jungle knowledge and mysticism of the natives. Different, but equal. I'd be interested to hear other's opinions. --Jackel 02:16, 3 March 2006 (GMT)
I now see how my statements depicted a direct relationship between abilities for the Outsiders and abilities for the Natives (so that whatever one could do, the other could also do). If this were the case, there would be no incentive to try the other side. I have attempted to modify the axiom accordingly to better capture your point. --Lint 03:54, 3 March 2006 (GMT)
As revised, I am in complete agreement. =] --Jackel 21:25, 3 March 2006 (GMT)

Note: The axiom mentioned above has been amended to "Outsiders and Natives should not have a complete advantage over the other."

Proposal for Mechanics axiom

Axiom: There is no right or wrong way to play

  • While there is a hinted conflict between Outsiders and Natives, players create their own goals. One person could kill only monkeys. Another could devote themselves to only killing players on their side. Do not restrict or punish players for playing differently. While the game would be incredibly easier to manage if the options were limited, it would lose multiple degrees of dynamic complexity. --Lint 06:04, 4 March 2006 (GMT)
  • I feel that it is necessary to simulate linear gameplay in this open-ended game through official quests, events, and minigames. --Lint 06:04, 4 March 2006 (GMT)

Persistent shark bites

As observed by Anothertwilight on the bugs page, shark bites that a character acquires when venturing in deep water will still exist after the character is resurrected. What purpose do persistent shark bites serve in the game? While they haven't affected my playing experience very much (I've killed my soldier twice by shark bite for "research"), I can't see a reason to really keep it ingame. --Lint 08:14, 17 March 2006 (GMT)

  • With the changes to the Shaman a couple of weeks ago, the shark bites are no longer persistent. --Simon 21:32, 8 May 2006 (BST)
  • Hm, so much for my strategy of earning all my xp by pouring bottles of water on my shark bite. Off to find more poisonberries... --Tycho44 06:55, 9 May 2006 (BST)

Contact Shaman

It is likely to be more efficient to die than to search for items and heal yourself. (Based on an observation was made by Leaf on the Suggestions page.) --Lint 22:52, 2 March 2006 (GMT)

I think this observation is based on the false perception that one needs to be fully healed at all times. There is no fundamental difference in performance when at less than ideal health. Remember, this game is set on an unexplored, remote island, not a heavily populated British suburb *coughUrbanDeadcough* its arguably more realistic to not be at peak health all the time, and for healing items to be somewhat scarce. --Jackel 00:12, 3 March 2006 (GMT)
I guess my problem is that death can be used as a tool rather than a game experience. Say you're at 2 HP. You can spend the next few days scrounging for enough recovery items to heal and continue on or you can get killed and begin playing with full HP the next day. Say you're 100 squares away from your hometown and want to get back, if you can get something to kill you (perhaps even kill yourself with poisonous berries), you will have potentially saved AP. I think we should be discouraged from taking advantage of death somehow. --Lint 18:20, 3 March 2006 (GMT)
This is a very good point.. what form of discouragement would be enough to make this less useful? Loss of AP and XP instead of 50AP (if so, what values for each)? Loss of a random skill? Loss of some of your inventory? Maybe you get summoned to the nearest (or random) camp of the same type rather than to your home camp? --Simon 10:56, 4 March 2006 (GMT)
I do see your point, Lint, and agree, Death should not be so much useful as it is annoying, nor should it be too annoying. One thought I had (aside from simply making it easier to stock healing items with refillable containers) was to make coming back from the dead progressively harder. I don't simply mean heaping onto the AP cost of getting ressurected, but maybe the shaman can send the dead on quests or punishments or something beyond simply waiting for your AP to recover?--Jackel 01:29, 6 March 2006 (GMT)
It's difficult to suggest something to dissuade death while not motivating griefing. I kind of like the camp idea and quests idea, but I'd need to get more familiar with the death experience before I can truly say anything. --Lint 16:12, 4 March 2006 (GMT)
Requiring that a dead person (spirit) must travel to a shaman to be 'resurrected' rather than just hitting the 'spend 50AP - go home' button would stop people using death as a teleporter. Making 'Town Shamans' have to recharge between resurrections (with the amount of time being tweaked depending on player numbers), potentially forcing a spirit to have to hang around and check in on a regular basis to see if the Shaman was ready, would make resurrection less of a sure thing. Another alternative to increase the uncertainty, and hence make death a gamble, not a strategy, would be to give the Town Shamans a %chance to resurrect and a set amount of AP. If too many people tap the Shaman looking for resurrections, they are 'asleep' 'til they recharge. Both would also increase the value of player shamans (whom I presume can also resurrect if they have the right skills). Anothertwilight 22:58, 5 March 2006 (GMT)
"Recharging" Shamens sounds like a reasonable idea.
I like the idea of the spirit having to find the shaman to ressurect him; in addition to the AP cost, they have to wander around the jungle, find their bearings, etc. It also segues nicely for the player shaman to have a skill allowing them to ressurect. Zerging risk here, having a player run a shaman and a "fighter", keeping them close so the shaman PC can quickly revive the fallen fighter. Also, this might create imbalance the two factions, as the PC shamen may not want to revive Outsiders.--Jackel 01:37, 6 March 2006 (GMT)
If you make Scientists able to revive people as well (they share most of the Shaman skills) would keep faction balance in. MorkaisChosen 12:24, 11 March 2006 (GMT)
I believe that the purpose behind "Contact Shaman" feature is so players that haven't a clue where the nearest village is (ie. ME) don't spend the rest of the game as a lost spirit. I think I'd just create a new character if I wasn't presented with the option to contact a Shaman. Another alternative that I've considered is perhaps the Town Shaman's power isn't as strong over long distances. If a spirit choose to contact a Shaman, they would respawn where they originally died, but with reduced HP. Perhaps a greater distance from the hometown results in less HP. This would put an end to teleportation and make taking advantage of death to gain full health slightly less advantageous (at least if the player is not within reasonable walking distance of a Town Shaman). However, I can see problems if some animal or PKer is camping the corpse, waiting to clobber them when they return. --Lint 02:32, 6 March 2006 (GMT)
A fair point, what if the player received a message from his "home shaman" if he was he was too far away, and needed to move xx squares in direction X, xx squares in direction Y to be "in range". That player could also choose to go to another shaman if he thought one was closer. --Jackel 02:39, 6 March 2006 (GMT)

After now experiencing multiple encounters with death, I feel that 50 AP is an acceptable cost and I am finding it hard to see how exactly this feature can be taken advantage of. --Lint 20:18, 6 April 2006 (BST)

Also, remember that anyone who scrounges healing items to get back up to full hit points is going to gain 50XP (or whatever) through the process of healing. --Tycho44 06:25, 12 April 2006 (BST)


To summarize: Contacting a Shaman can currently be taken advantage of to bypass Traveling and to bypass Recovery. Both are presumably essential experiences to how the game is played.

  • We can prevent the teleportation element by removing the option to contact a Shaman altogether.
    • However, to provide a user-friendly game experience it probably needs to be kept in place.
      • We can reduce our dependency for this option by increasing the number of available respawn locations.
        • Reduces the established punishment of having to cover lost ground.
  • Rather than the Hometown Shaman, players contact the nearest Town Shaman.
    • This will reduce excessive teleportation, but does not eliminate it.
  • Allow the Shaman to be contacted but the player respawns where it was rather than hometown.
    • Reduces teleportation, but also reduces the established punishment of having to cover lost ground.
  • We can artificially represent the act of Traveling and Recovery by extending the time and/or AP spent before resurrection can occur.
    • Increasing AP cost
    • Quests
    • Queues
    • Chance
  • Or apply penalties after resurrection.
    • Reduced HP
    • Temporarily Reduced Actions (only movement and inventory; no combat, speech, writing)
      • Temporarily Reduced Accuracy
  • Or apply penalties to discourage dying in general.
    • Loss of XP
    • Loss of Skill
    • Loss of Item

Class archetypes discussion

I'm revisiting this suggestion to flesh out some "archetypes" for the classes to better frame skill suggestions for each set. With generic RPG and Starcraft references! Feel free to edit this rough chart, but please note the changes you make in your comments under the chart. --Lint 19:54, 13 June 2006 (BST)

Soldier and warrior

Soldiers and warriors currently have the second-highest maximum HP. They can learn to use rifles or blowpipes (making them the only class that can use these high-damage weapons effectively).

The archetype that the soldier and warrior best resemble are the tank-like knights (e.g., the Marine in Starcraft).


  • Increased chance-to-hit (?)
  • Increased damage
  • Increased defense

Weapon mastery

  • Faster (free?) reload


  • Temporary strengthening buffs (increase attack or defense) - either self-only or ally/allies
  • Special attack skills
  • Guarding non-fighter characters on the same side. A 1 AP "Guard" button would make the soldier/warrior the first in line for attacks by players on the other side. (E.g., an outsider who sees 5 natives would attack any soldiers on guard before any others.) XP could perhaps be awarded to some extent if incentives for zerging/farming behavior could be avoided. Added by Elembis on 22:55, 23 June 2006 (UTC).


With more HP than everyone but pirates, and the exclusive ability to use rifles and blowpipes productively, soldiers and warriors are already some of the best and most popular characters in the game. No self-improvements are needed for now, but abilities to help other characters (without gaining XP) by yelling war chants (to temporarily increase melee damage for nearby non-soldier/warrior/pirate chracters) or guarding (see above) would encourage group cooperation without making soldiers more powerful, as such. — Elembis (talk) 22:55, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Scientist and shaman

Scientists and shamans currently have the lowest maximum HP. At this point in time only the Shaman posseses an advantage, in that they can use seance.

The archetype that the scientist and shaman best resemble are the frail wizards (e.g., the Science Vessel in StarCraft). One does not usually associate these classes with mastering attack skills. Instead, they could be adept at magic and item crafting.


  • Exorcism: the ability to affect spirits - in particular, the ability to displace them randomly a ways away, in order to counterbalance the uncontested Banshee Wail
  • Ward: the ability to temporarily protect a small area from the damaging effects of spirit screams/shrieks/wails. Non-spirit characters could receive special flavor text in such areas ("You feel at peace with the spirits"), while spirits wouldn't know which areas were warded and which were not (or would perhaps see something like "This is a place of peace. You cannot harm people here."). Wards could last for 8 hours, for example, and affect a 3x3 square (or a hut's interior). Added by Elembis on 22:55, 23 June 2006 (UTC).
  • Increase jungle regrowth, Decrease jungle resgrowth
  • Bless, Curse


  • Ability to efficiently use healing items of the other type (i.e., scientist gain access to natural medicine and shamans gain access to first aid - provided they have knowledge skills)
  • Advanced first aid and natural medicine (to heal more than 10 HP)
  • Advanced triage (to detect the health of more than just the lowest)
  • Ability to detect status effects for characters of the same side - Here is Bob (sharkbite), and Joe (20HP, poison).
  • Poultice or dress wounds (no items required, only applied to others, but 10 AP cost, 5 HP heal, 1 XP earned)


  • Create potion, Create formula - accessible buffs used by all


  • Improved language skills
  • Research - perhaps including finding clues to hidden game plots and events


I especially like the suggestion to give scientists and shamans access to natural medicine and first aid, respectively. This would strengthen their debatable roles as healers. (See ward above for spirit-defense boost.) — Elembis (talk) 22:55, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Explorer and scout

Explorers and scouts currently have the third highest maximum HP. They also have the highest maximum AP.

The archetype that the explorer and scout best resemble are the stealthy ranger (e.g., the Ghost in StarCraft). These characters rely on mobility, speed, agility, and scouting abilities. They are experienced with the terrain and wildlife.


  • Faster trekking
  • Trailblazing: Extends the effects of trekking to d7-d9 jungle (not just d1-d6) and makes chopping cost 0.5 AP instead of 1. Added by Elembis on 22:55, 23 June 2006 (UTC).
  • Dodge


  • Reduced chance to dull blade chopping jungle
  • Chopping 2 layers of jungle density for 1 AP
  • Skinning, meat - item harvesting from animals


  • Improved Cartography (reduced chance to forget)
  • Improved map visibility or terrain knowledge


  • Faster (free?) tracking - e.g. tracking mastery skill (0.5 per) beyond the end of the skill tree (implemented for all players on 16 June 2006)
  • Trap setting, trap detection
  • Stealth - avoid being detected through Tracking
  • Weakness detection of opposing side - There are 5 natives here. 2 are very injured, 1 is near death.
  • Other unique information-gathering effects - This native appears refreshed. (>50 AP remaning)

Settler and villager

Settlers and villagers currently have the lowest maximum HP. They benefit from animal affinity and scavenging.

The archetype that the settler and villager best resemble are the non-combat settler or engineer from Civ-like games (e.g., the SCV in StarCraft). This class is weak in combat, but empowered by improved harvesting and item-management abilities, possibly including unique (minor) special abilities.


  • Scavenging
  • Increased inventory size


  • Haggling - trading advantages


  • Improved hut, boat, signpost building and repair
  • Plant and grow fruit trees and berry bushes


  • Animal Affinity
  • Pet taming (only simple pets - parrot, monkey, and wild boar)


My preference would be to give villagers and settlers an exclusive hut construction skill; see Suggestions:Skills#Hut Construction (Simplified). — Elembis (talk) 22:55, 23 June 2006 (UTC)


They're pirates. They already start with a big HP bonus. Their starting camp is unique, and contains a separate equipment list (including cutlasses, bottles of rum, and gems) with a slightly better value-per-search-AP profile (gems in particular sell for 9 gold coins). No ranged weapon. Because pirates have only one camp and one character class, this faction is more concentrated and homogeneous (and thus perhaps more clan-loyal) than other factions in Shartak.


  • Plunder (For example, pirates could click a "steal" button, or steal from slain characters, or characters that they personally have just slain. Stealing might take 1 or more gold coins, or perhaps take a random low-end item.)
  • Pillage (For example, pirates could click a "pillage" button to temporarily damage an empty hut or ruins, acquiring driftwood or sharpening stones. Perhaps "pillaging" a resource hut would be AP-intensive, but would return several items, and would disable that hut for a time.)
  • Loot (For example, pirates could "loot" the Trading Hut after killing the Trader, to obtain several few items, comparable to searching resource huts with an amount of AP equal to the amount wasted while killing the Trader since he dodges attacks.)


  • Burn down huts

Yo ho ho

  • Sailing (in pirate ships or little jolly-boats)
  • Burying treasure, digging for buried treasure
  • Parrots as pets
  • Gain 4 HP (and XP) instead of 2 from drinking beer or rum. Added by Elembis on 22:55, 23 June 2006 (UTC).


As with soldiers and warriors, I don't think pirates need any upgrades until the other classes are improved. — Elembis (talk) 22:55, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

General comments

  1. Nice work!, I added a whole bunch of new bullet items, and tried to complete the "already has" sections. --Tycho44 22:16, 13 June 2006 (BST)
  2. One comment I have is that new additions to the game (including skills and items) can appear extremely minor but still add tremendous flavor and quality. Meanwhile, giant steps forward (or away) from current rules always seem to bring out the worst of interminal my-character-is-smaller-than-yours whinefests. For that reason, I'm in favor of items or skills that allow temporary performance boosts. Imho an item or AP-costing action (war chant) that granted a temporary (and/or limited-circumstance) 5% boost would be much better than a skill that granted 5% across-the-board, ...even though (and especially because) previous skills in Shartak typically grant a universal benefit. New skill(s) should be of power comparable to the weakest of Advanced Language or Advanced Tracking or Ghostly Whisper or Animal Affinity. New skills should be creative and useful and break into new territory without spiking the game balance. --Tycho44 21:39, 13 June 2006 (BST) To clarify: game imbalances, as they exist, should be addressed (redressed) separately and explicitly. (For example, the blowpipe dart should cause Poison damage, perhaps 1 HP per act for 4 acts, because the current blowpipe is worthless even to the Warrior.) --Tycho44 22:23, 13 June 2006 (BST)
  3. Another comment worth separate emphasis: I would like to see some game mechanics that emphasize cross-class dependencies, intertwine classes, and encourage interplayer cooperation. In other words, the Soldier/Warrior could have military leadership skills, such as War Chant, that would only provide a (temporary) buff to other characters -- such as +10% to all attacks by another character (a contact chosen on a pull-down, or perhaps all characters in the square who are from your home camp). For a price, characters could be allowed to temporarily imbue others with limited benefits of their class skill: contact buffs, friend buffs, foe curses, ... there are all sorts of unexplored possibilities. --Tycho44 21:39, 13 June 2006 (BST)
  4. Could you elaborate on Pillage and Loot? Are those just advanced forms of Plunder? Added comment for Set/Vil and trading. Added comment for Sco/Exp and chopping jungle. Added comment for Sci/Sha and dressing wounds. I think it's important to avoid inherent skills (though there is little that can be done about HP and AP values) - but could Improved cartography and Increased inventory be acceptable as inherent skills? --Lint 22:35, 13 June 2006 (BST) ...I can elaborate, but apparently not here, since it messes up wiki's numbering scheme. --Tycho44 07:31, 15 June 2006 (BST)
  5. Rewrote sections. Removed "XP incentives for exploring" from Sco/Exp. --Lint 06:07, 14 June 2006 (BST)
  6. I strongly support more class differentation and more class-exclusive skills. Currently classes are almost irrelevant (except the fireams training tree and Scavenging), especially since everyone starts off with no skills. The only place I would support less class-differentation is in ranged weapons, as it is currently useless for non-soldiers/warriors to use them at all (total damage ratio is lower than punching without any accuracy skills). Non-soldiers should have skills available to boost their max accuracybut still be significantly less than soldiers. Also, 0 AP reload should not be a skill available only to soldiers imo, but should be the deafault, for reasons outlined in the marksmanship suggestion in Suggestions:Skills. Arminius 18:40, 14 June 2006 (BST)