Goddamn Numbers all the Way

There are loads upon loads of numbers that have to be tweaked just right, or Turtles all the Way‘s gameplay becomes unbalanced very quickly. Obvious, I know, but (unlike many games) I have quite the set of numbers all working at once to create the gameplay.

First off, there’s the usual stats and such. In this case, those numbers (as well as stuff like attack power) were simply set according to logic and will be tweaked later. More importantly, in relation to that, are things such as how much stamina stuff costs, and how much it affects stats. I currently have it set to stamina restores itself faster if your current stamina is high, just like how every other stat it higher based on your current stamina total and is nearly nothing if you have no stamina. Basically, I’m encouraging the player to be frugal with their stamina. In addition, the effects on stats are calculated with a percentage, while all costs are flat numbers, so characters with a higher max stamina will get less of a hit to their stats for an attack that costs the same amount in stamina. Though that gets trumped by the Sync system.

The game can turn into a completely different one depending on how often I demand that the player switches. It could easily be outright annoying if I demand a switch every few seconds, but it’s pointless if it takes too long for not switching to be punished. Ideally, the player would eventually get into a sort of rhythm with their switches that would get their SP total to go high. Just like with stamina, it’s important to make sure that the effects on stats are reasonable.

Right now, I have stats set to double at max Sync and decrease to almost nothing at min Sync. Honestly, people won’t hit the lower limit or the higher limit on their Sync very often (unless you’re really not paying attention to it, in which case you’re almost guaranteed to hit min Sync). At the default value (0), stats are completely unaffected. While that’s all well and good, that leads to the question of what the upper and lower limits should be, as well as what the Ideal Switch Point, Penalty Point, and the length of the Grace Period should be set to. Not an easy question, and I suspect it’s a number that’ll need to be tweaked up until the the end of the game’s development. Those numbers are just that important. In fact, I suspect that they may play an even larger role than the costs of revival and stat buffs.

The problem with needing to play around with so many numbers is that there’s no “correct” answer to what these numbers should be. It has to be set up through trial and error with each build, and with so many numbers working in tandem for each second of gameplay… How exactly does one know which number(s) were incorrect? You don’t, I’d assume. Logically, you’d find out what wasn’t the problem and go through several more tests, but then how do you know you’ve got it down? Not to mention that I, as the creator of the game, would be the worst possible person to test it, since the person who made a game is usually very good at the game by the time they’re done, due to knowing the game inside and out better than the vast majority of players of the game. Just how many iterations am I gonna need to go through?

It sounds extremely troublesome, but I have no real choice in the matter.