Saturday, 13 February 2016

Stat Building, Simplified

or rather, "resource gathering", which might be more accurate in this case.

In A Little Lily Princess, you will encounter the familiar schedule-planner to set your activities for the week and boost those numbers on the side of the screen:

(You may notice that those bars don't go very high. There's a reason for that, which we'll get to in a moment...)

After you've selected all your activities and begin the week, the outcomes for each day's activity are determined:

And at the end of the week, those icons are totted up and added to your side stat total.

When the weekend rolls around, you have the opportunity to pursue extra scenes with various characters (common scenes happen every week regardless). To unlock a scene, you must meet the stat requirement. If you choose to play the scene, you spend the associated stats.

In this screenshot, Jessie has a free event available. Lottie's event requires 5 Belief, which the player doesn't have at the moment, so can't be played. Lavinia's event requires 3 Grace. If the player chooses to play Lavinia's event, the Grace stat will drop from 4 to 1.

That's why they're really more resources than they are character stats. They represent things that the PC has done recently, not changes in her overall skills. Having 10 Grace doesn't mean she's changed to become more graceful, and spending 10 Grace doesn't make her suddenly clumsy.

More importantly, the targets for any single event are always within reach. It can be a problem in some sim-style dating games where you're interacting happily with a character only to discover at the last minute that you needed 200 Wisdom in order to get their happy ending... and you need to back up several months and grind that stat in order to get it that high!

Here, you are constantly spending and regaining. It's worthwhile to build all your stats instead of just one, because you never know what might be needed for the next event. The low cap means that an event can't ask for more than 10 of a stat, so even if you have nothing in that stat and need to build it way up for your next event, it won't take too long to meet the requirement. The intent is to create a feeling of consistent progress - progress which requires a little effort, but not a huge amount of frustration!


Ren said...

It sounds like an interesting system, not something I can think I've tried before in either board games or videogames so far. I suppose you could sort of see it as a choice drafting game anyway.

So, does a specific character always require the same stat or might they require Grace one time, and Sympathy another time? Perhaps informed by the changes in the story? (Say, Ermengarde is becoming better at school, so she doesn't need so much help with her studies any more, but needs to fess up to her father that she asked Sara to read her books for her, so she needs help with Sympathy rather than Knowledge this time around).

Whiner said...

The required stats are roughly connected to what's going to happen in that particular event, so the same character will need different stats for different events. It's not a complete story match, though, because it's also adjusted for game balance (making later events take more work but not TOO much work, mixing up the requirements so you don't keep spending all of a stat and immediately having to max that same stat out again, etc)

jack norton said...

Interesting system, I might do something like that in one of my various future games, since sometimes people complained about the excessive "stats grinding"... :D

Gaspare said...

Well, "raise smartness, conquer the meganekko" systems get old 10 years ago. They doesn't offer much for character interaction. I like this one :). Could be expanded in another game by adding 2 different solution (4 Grace or 8 Sympathy?) for events, to allow strategy and more randomness.
Or spending stress instead of collected points: stress act like wildcards for all actions, but you risk to be exhausted and get less resources later.
Thank for the share, clever idea.