Author Topic: Balancing  (Read 543 times)

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Balancing
« on: March 30, 2020, 02:10:00 PM »
Hi all,

Samir, the last entry of DanMATHSkufu (the maths-themed bullet-hell series), is well on its way, but I have encountered a little problem with balancing. The script is very Seihou-esque in style, with fewer and faster bullets than in your typical Touhou; and although its difficulty is comfortable for me, I would be interested in knowing how you fellow scripters balance your scripts, and potentially whether anyone would be willing to lend a hand on this one. Indeed the two previous scripts have difficulty selections, but I'm still unsure as to if they were done correctly.
Thanks in advance,

Kinghidrorah

Sparen

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Re: Balancing
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2020, 01:31:50 PM »
Balancing is one of those areas where the ONLY way to do it well is to both have plenty of experience playing games and designing them yourself, and involve other players of varying skill levels during testing of your script or game.

One rule of thumb is that no matter how you design your script, you will 'know' how to dodge an attack since you are the one who made it. Any 'this is obvious' techniques will rarely be obvious to the player, and sometimes, players will find new ways to dodge your pattern that you never expected. Personally, the latter has happened to an embarrassing extent two times to me - in the more notable one, VichyCatalan found a way to cheese one of my spell cards in my LOCAA4 entry in a way I had never tested or expected.

Difficulty is not just about bullet count or bullet speed. Pattern structure, the angles at which players are expected to dodge, the area of focus for the player, etc. all play a role. It will almost never be possible to calibrate difficulty in such a way that it feels like 'Normal' or 'Hard' for a given player.

My best recommendation is to balance against an existing game. If your game has a different style (e.g. CAVE, Seihou, Len'en), it may be more difficult to do so, but you will have to consider your target audience in that case. A lot of it comes down to tweaking numbers until they feel 'right' or the density falls above or below a threshold, resulting in a significant shift in the difficulty of a pattern. Internally, within a script, playing it from start to finish (and having others do the same and provide feedback) will allow you to better calibrate a script such that the patterns within are balanced against each other.

I hope this helps, even if a little.

Re: Balancing
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2020, 09:05:36 PM »
Hello, thanks for the response. So first of all I get that involving other players would be a good thing to do, but people in my entourage are not gamers by any means. How do you folks do it, or do you do it between yourselves?

I'm also debating how many difficulty levels I should be making. The fact is that my script currently brings out a lot of the same feelings in me as the Seihou series does, but I'm afraid that people aren't too used to that style of game in general.

Sparen

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Re: Balancing
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2020, 11:15:03 PM »
Hello, thanks for the response. So first of all I get that involving other players would be a good thing to do, but people in my entourage are not gamers by any means. How do you folks do it, or do you do it between yourselves?

Back in MotK v2, one of the main benefits of having your own thread on the forum was precisely for this. People could play your script and leave feedback.

If you're part of a Touhou Danmaku discord server, you should be able to get feedback even by just posting a video of an attack - just by seeing an attack being played, many of us can offer balancing advice. Soliciting feedback shouldn't be too hard.

I'm also debating how many difficulty levels I should be making. The fact is that my script currently brings out a lot of the same feelings in me as the Seihou series does, but I'm afraid that people aren't too used to that style of game in general.

Stick with a small number of difficulties. Unless you're programmatically setting your difficulty (NOTE: I recommend speaking with gtbot if you're interested in this - I believe there was a Yumemi script that had a difficulty slider), a smaller number of difficulties allows for a much more customized approach to difficulty.