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Game Balancing
01-27-2014, 06:56 PM
Post: #1
Game Balancing
I've been making games for 9 years and one thing that always trips me up is making a game balanced. Every time it pretty much comes down to me just plugging in random numbers and playing the game to see if it "feels right".

So my question for you guys is, how do you go about making your game balanced? Do you only change one thing at a time, or many? And are they extreme or slight changes? Maybe some kind of automated system (for example, an in-game slider control for changing player speed on-the-fly)?

Thanks!
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01-28-2014, 11:05 AM
Post: #2
RE: Game Balancing
I've pretty much done the same thing as you. I usually create some sort of simple config file and just keep tweaking numbers until it plays well. I always make sure the config file can be reloaded while I'm playing, so I never need to restart the game. If you have the infrastructure I'm sure sliders for the tweakables would be more user friendly. Granted the games I've made typically don't have too many tweakables (Nothing close to the scale of Mineralz).

For games like this it's really hard to balance them well with out actual player data. For instance collecting data on where players die, what players are building, how much damage different enemies are actually dealing, ect. Then you can use this data to determine what things are too powerful, or just useless, and focus your efforts there.

As for the extent of the changes, I'd recommend changing roughly one thing at a time and trying to focus in on exactly what it is that doesn't feel right. My changes tend to start extreme, and then I do something of a binary search to find just the right numbers.
Hope this helps!
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01-29-2014, 02:13 PM
Post: #3
RE: Game Balancing
Those are some great tips, Ben! I especially like your idea of auto-saving information during gameplay that can be analyzed after-the-fact. I'll probably incorporate this into my logger at some point.

The biggest problem with MineralZ was that we didn't get around to using config files, so every time we wanted to tweak a value, we would have to recompile (which sometimes took several minutes). For our current game, Horder, we're making sure not to fall into that trap by moving everything into YAML files.
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