Why Not Games




FOCUS

Written: 2016-07-11

1 Things that the focus system has done well

  • Low focus generating will
  • High focus consuming will
  • Keeping the towers near the traits
  • Giving the player a reward for leveling up a trait
  • Penalties from trying to run everything at once:
    • Will cost when it was just a number.
    • Reduced efficiency with workers
  • The trait leveling giving you more focus had the reasonable metaphor of getting better at something letting you do the same task with less focus

2 Good Metaphors

  • subconscious being more active when focus used is low
  • Needing to keep the focus high to prevent emotions from being as strong.
    • This means that people should not be able to decide how much they are going to focus on a thing
  • Goals only generating desire if focused on.
  • Generating workers represented dividing focus very well
    • Needing y workers but only having x and so everything runs at x/y efficiency was quite good
  • Workers as a whole are a good metaphor
    • Visually nice
    • Supports the feeling of the mind being a lot of little people
  • Being able to vary the amount of focus that you spend on something for variable efficiency is actually strong
    • There are actions for which you can do this in the real world
    • There are also actions where you cannot
    • There is a range in the real world
  • I would like this entire system to be a little less under the control of the player
    • I don't have full control on what I'm focusing on.

3 Problems with the current system

  • It is a pain to manually set focus
    • The two step process of activate tower and set focus is a pain.
  • Possibly too similar to the currency system
  • No reason not to max focus all the time.
  • Different actions should require different amounts of focus

4 Thoughts

  • How do multiple towers work?
    • Making them cost a linear multiple of the focus is a solution

5 Sub-proposal - UI change for goals

  • Reduce the effort of setting focus through a UI change
    • Put all of the towers and the traits involved in running a goal in the goal menu and turn things on from there.
  • Variations:
    • Should still put the towers and traits in even if you can't turn them on yourself so as to emphasize the chain
  • Pieces solved:
    • Reduces the issue of effort

6 Sub-proposal - subconscious for resources

  • Make the subconscious
    • Make the subconscious feed the resources
      • This is tricky when the pipeline depends on the resources
    • Make the subconscious run the emotion sources
    • Make the subconscious feed the goals
  • Make the focus and subconscious come from the player to emphasize their zero-sum nature
  • Make the subconscious choose its destination randomly
  • Question:
    • How much control do you have over the split?
  • Results:
    • The traits will then cluster around it.
  • Things solved:
    • subconscious metaphor
    • Low focus generating will
    • Incentivizes the player not to just be at full focus all the time
    • Keeping the focus high to reduce the rate of generation of emotions

7 Sub-proposal - Fatigue Entity

  • Make the player get tired when they have spent focus for too long
  • Make an entity that generates focus
    • Make it take will, but less will than is normally generated at low focus
    • Make it take more will than is generated when at high focus
  • Requires:
    • Will gets stored
      • I like this anyway, and I should do it
      • Maybe reset it at the end of the day
  • Variations:
    • Can coalesce this and the awake goal
      • Can then use this as a metaphor for waking up in the morning
  • Results:
    • This naturally makes construction interfere with the amount that you are doing, which works well.
      • This metaphor may be a little suspect however.
  • Things solved:
    • Low focus generating will
    • High focus consuming will

8 Sub-proposal - Workers from traits

  • Workers are generated from the traits by sending them focus
  • Variations:
    • The traits generate a number of workers based off their level and the amount of focus set to it.
      • Multiple workers can go to a single tower, and efficiency is increased if they do.
    • The workers generated by the trait can be more efficient based off the level, but you make one per focus
      • The major advantage of this is that we can then take away the manual steps by doing this.
  • Things solved:
    • Generates workers, which are a nice visual metaphor
    • Keeps towers close to the traits
    • Rewards players for leveling traits
    • Good at showing division of focus

9 Proposal - Kill the focus system

  • Remove the focus system entirely
  • Listed issues:
    • Many metaphors are lost
    • Keeping similar towers together
    • Need to examine the traits and their growth.
    • Everything will always be running, which makes for a weaker base metaphor and fewer decisions

10 Proposal - UI Change + subconscious + existing worker solution

  • Listed issues:
    • Doesn't hit the metaphor of high focus consuming will
    • Need to check how onerous the book-keeping is.
    • May still be too similar to the currency system
    • May still be too much control for the player

11 Found issues

  • Requiring the subconscious changes the flow of working on the goals
    • It also means that we have to store currencies, although we can reset them at the end of the day.
  • It feels like there are just a lot of things moving around
    • The complexity seems high
  • It feels too similar to existing currencies, and threatens to overshadow them
  • It is really hard to see why a tower is not working and what to do about it.
  • The number of demands on the subconscious grows quickly.
    • This becomes a problem when you're waiting on certain mines
  • Taking out the two step part of focus made this system play a lot better
  • Making you focus on work until you run out of will/energy to run a tower because your mines aren't running is a good metaphor

12 Sub-proposal - Make traits into Starcraft creep

  • You can only build a building of a trait on the creep of that trait
  • Things solved
    • Solves the issue of keeping like buildings together
      • Much lower complexity than workers in that solution
    • Reduces the issue of rewarding players for leveling traits by reducing the importance of the traits
    • Should visually separate the mind nicely.
    • The base metaphor feels stronger
      • Focus going through the traits to go to the towers feels weak to me.
      • Having a trait grow and so getting more space to build on that trait feels stronger
  • Issues:
    • May end up allowing players to build too many towers in too small a space

13 Sub-proposal - Focus as a menu

  • Make it a menu again instead of having the workers on the map
  • Things solved:
    • Low focus generating will
    • Lets you make the subconscious be more active when focus is low and so lets you focus on things to avoid emotions
      • Lets you set a global state for the subconscious, so all mines operate at the same efficiency constantly, solving the issue of increasing demands
      • Also, gets the metaphor of working until you run out of energy
    • Much lower complexity burden, much easier to communicate
      • This allows us to make consequences to high focus
      • Also solves issue of player effort
  • Issues:
    • Lower overlap with other features.

- @murthynikhil

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Written for Why Not Games.