Blog #2--Health

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Blog #2--Health

Post  rut on Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:43 am

Several people have told me that the health system is unintuitive, so let me take some time to explain just how it works. First off I have to say that this game is not meant to be a faithful recreation of real-life dodgeball, hence you don't immediately die from getting hit a single time. I've received some criticism for this, and I would like to explain why health even exists.

The short answer:
Health adds diversity.

The long answer:
If every unit died in one hit, the game would be much more volatile. It would also make certain abilities and units useless. All damage-dealing abilities would have to be redone, meaning the range of potential abilities for units would be diminished greatly. The Masterball would also become useless and would have to be removed/reworked completely. Also, it would upset the balance and diversity of units quite a bit. Removing the Health stat would mean all the units would have to be rebalanced in order to maintain their equal stat point totals (if you combine any unit's stats--Health/Power/Speed--it will add up to eight). With only two factors, there would be much more redundancy. Also consider stuns and slows--pretty much all offensive abilities--would become much more effective and would have to be nerfed significantly.

Basically, health is an important part of the game because it allows for more depth without being too difficult to understand.

I also feel I should mention that all damage-dealing abilities that do not involve dodgeballs are incapable of killing an enemy. They can reduce a unit to 1 health, but only a dodgeball can score a kill.

Now, the actual mechanics behind health are kept purposely vague because I don't want to confuse casual players with unnecessary numbers. I think the concept of "the more points into health, the longer I'll survive" is all most people need to know. That being said, here are the actual numbers in case you're curious.

All units start with 5 health. Each point they have into their health stat will add an additional 5. Thus, a Sentry (2 base health) with 3 extra points into health will have the same amount as a completely unupgraded Thor (5 base health).

Sentry: 5 + (2*5) + (3*5) = 30
Thor: 5 + (5*5) + (0*5) = 30

Each standard dodgeball hit will do a random damage amount between 6 and 11, with the average expected damage being 8.5. A good way to look at it is that every point into health will help the unit survive about an additional half of a hit.

If you're curious why dodgeball hits do a random amount of damage, here's the explanation.

When designing the game mechanics, I had a hard time coming up with a good system for health and damage. I figured that each point into health would raise health by a static amount, and each point into power would increase the amount of damage done. However, I realized that the scaling would not work very well, and it would become vastly not fun to play a unit with a low power rating. I wanted to remove the fact that upgrading power would increase the damage dealt, but without it there would exist "useless" health thresholds. If every point into Health would raise a unit's health by 5 and dodgeballs did a flat 10 damage, it would be useless to upgrade your unit from 15 to 20 health. After much deliberation, I realized that dealing random damage within an acceptable range would remove this problem, along with giving the player the option to play a more risky playstyle.

Luck is generally considered an unwelcome participant in a competitive game, but I think just the right amount can add to the excitement!

rut
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