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Old 03-10-2005, 03:32 PM   #26
Join Date: Aug 1999
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Default Re: Boss Preferences

Funny thing is, I've seen a lot of games that didn't have a clue other than to just let the player fumble around until they figured it out (usually with pattern/puzzle bosses). Sometimes there are clues, sometimes not.

In the case of the "must be killed by boss without hurting him" idea, you could always have some story elements/etc. to clue the player into the idea. They just don't need to be "too" obvious. Maybe have the idea that the boss is known to characters in the game and they mention that no known weapons have any effect on the boss character other than to tick him off...lol. But, there would still need to be "some" mystery as to what the player is supposed to do.

In the case of a destructable environment, perhaps the weapons loadout would be used for that purpose (as a way to block/slow down the boss while you are trying to place the collected items). Then, there would be a purpose for all the weapons, even thou they were not to be used on the boss.

Perhaps the puzzle portion would be placing collected items at 4 locations that would lead to something opening up/platform raising sort of thing. Something to lead the player into that location. Once the player is on the platform, "something" strange starts to happen (lots of glowing, particle effects and cool sounds...lol). While the player is standing there, the boss comes in to destroy the player (in that location). If the player leaves, the platform is destroyed and the player loses. If the player "stays true" (or some other game related sense of honor/etc.) and stands firm, the boss kills the character JUST AS the player activates the thing that kills the boss character.

I dunno, just an idea off the top of my head. More time and thought could iron out any details. :}
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Old 03-10-2005, 06:59 PM   #27
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Default Re: Boss Preferences

Any of you guys remember the boss in Metal Gear Solid where he could read your mind and knwo what moves you did unless you unplugged the controller and plugged it into the 2nd Player port. I though that was kind of neat.
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Old 03-14-2005, 05:18 PM   #28
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Default Re: Boss Preferences

Wages Of Sin Manero: Awesome boss. Probably my favorite. Granted he wasn't "awesome" looking by far, but he was fresh and challenging.

Sin's Thrall: Lame. "Run away backwards while shooting."

HL's Tentcle Monster: Lame. Bosses where firepower has no effect on the creature is so weak.

Doom 3's Cyberdemon = Thrall.

HL2's boss... What boss?

I think a major problem with the bosses in games are they're just there to absorb gun fire. None really make an effort to avoid it or use any tact other than "pursue the player."

Now the trap many developers fall into is the extreme opposite where the make the enemy constantly running away so the player has to chase it down... Not fun.

Don't forget "weak spot" bosses where they're invincible to everything except one thing... Of course once you know the one thing (THANKS WALKTHROUGH) there's absolutely not challenge.

I think it is obvious where the Doom 3 expansion is going: X item must be activated/used versus X Hunter.

I think one of the more important objectives in boss design should be giving the player a fight.

How about instead of loading the player up with tons of ammo and guns and the like right before facing the boss, they have little to nothing and have to run away from the boss across a level to reach the one item they need to defeat them... Or lure them into a trap... The boss should look "awesome." And by awesome I mean totally "take your breath away design" and NOT "HOW BIG CAN WE MAKE HIM?!?!?"

The player should fear the boss.

The boss should have the upper hand for most of the batte, leaving the player feeling despair, the an action turns the battle around. Happens a lot in the movies... Ya know.

I personally think Arena boss battles are lame. WOW HOW CONVIENT THIS AREA IS HERE FOR THE FIGHT. How about a new and fresh approach?

The player should be allowed to cower and wonder "oh shi what am I going to do?!?!?

That game RUNE by Human Head pitted you against other humans that made for some great fights...

Options, multiple ways to kill the boss are important and great.

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Old 03-15-2005, 04:30 PM   #29
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Default Re: Boss Preferences

Rune rocked - as did the lightsabre mod for it !
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Old 03-16-2005, 12:32 AM   #30
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Default Re: Boss Preferences

Did anyone here get to the last level in that game called NARC, Mr. Big was a funny boss.
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Old 03-19-2005, 01:09 AM   #31
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Default Re: Boss Preferences

I havenít really read and absorbed all thatís been said in this thread - but Iíll add my rant to it.

This is not meant as an attack against certain game designers, but it was always my feeling that bosses were poor game design.

We all know Ďbalance = funí. Thatís the equation (or one of) that game design is centered around. Where is the balance in the boss? What balances the boss?

Your typical boss has 1.) more - excessively more - hit points, 2.) more abilities, 3.) is stronger. At the very least, some bosses go above and beyond, others mix and match, the point is - to be a boss - they are tens, if not hundreds of times stronger then you.

You - youíre still the same guy that was just moments ago matching up against Ďminionsí of comparable strength. So I ask again - where is the balance? Mobility of the player is usually the only balancing factor, but itís not enough - and sometimes thatís even taken away.

Second to balance: where did the flow of the game go? Again, we all know that Ďgood game flow = funí. Thatís another simple equation that game design centers around.

But how is good game flow suddenly being thrown up against an enemy that you will never beat the first time you play it?

How is good game flow throwing a player into a position where they may have to exercise tactics that they arenít particularly good at?

Nothing is worse then dying in a game. Nothing kills the flow of, and feeling of the game worse then having to reload; because you were the hero, and you died. If that happened in a movie people would walk out of the theater.

Bosses are cool. Iíll admit that. But a good designer - whether level or game - can say ĎYes that is damn cool, but it doesnít work with what Iím doing. Or it doesnít add to what Iím doing. Or it takes away from what Iím doing.Ē So they donít include it.

I consider myself a good gamer. I play on the high difficulty settings. I usually donít die too many times - if at all - during the course of a game, but bosses still kick me square in the balls. Thatís the best way I can put it. Now if I AM a good gamer, and I find them frustrating and unsatisfying then what must other good gamers think, and what must casual gamers think?

Nothing is more frustrating, nothing more annoying, then progressing through a game then suddenly hitting a wall. A wall you try to climb, once, twice, three - four, ten times before you finally get over it.

But itís a bitter-sweet victory. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, because you were supposed to be the hero. You were supposed to be the one who canít be defeated - who saves the day, but it took you 10 times to do itÖ

In my opinion the best Ďbossí levels are the ones where there isnít a boss. An example of this is in Mechwarrior (I think it was VengeanceÖ) where you had to Ďhold the lineí against a large group of enemies.

Yeah it was tough, but you could do it, and it was damn satisfying when the dust cleared; you were limping around - barely alive - and you looked around and could bask in the glory of your victory because you saved the day, and it only took you one try to do it.

And itís satisfying because you know - way in the back of your mind - if it hadnít been a game you would have won the fight - carried the day. It was close, but you did it.

Thatís what makes games fun: riding the edge, but still coming out on top, just like all heroes.

And personally I havenít played many games where the player wasnít the hero - if any.

What Iím really getting at is this: if the game is challenging, but beatable, and I die because of a mistake that I made or a choice that I made - thatís fine. I correct the mistake, I win, I learn. It's not quite as satisfying, but that's alright.

But if the game (a part of) is so difficult that Iím not able to beat it the first time I play then itís not fun. If I did everything right, but died because of lack of ability then itís not fun. If I have to practice 9 times before I can win the 10th then itís not fun.

Thatís my opinion on the subject.

And Iíll add this: bosses that you can beat the first time are usually boring ammo dumps. You avoid their fire, you dump ammo into them, and eventually they die.

So where does that leave bosses? In the past. Where they belong.

There is so much possibility, and so many options that bosses are no longer needed or relevant.

Again, I'd like to point out that this is directed at the typical boss - a single, over-powered character - NOT boss levels where you're facing stronger, but comparable to the player, enemies, or more numerous enemies. I donít consider enemies like that to be the definition of a Ďbossí.

Hopefully that's understandable - my most recent encounter with boss characters has once again left me bitter that they are still legit options at this level of game design.
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Old 03-25-2005, 02:33 AM   #32
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Default Re: Boss Preferences

I find the typical FPS boss fight frustrating/boring most times. Like it has been stated before, they totally kill the flow of the level/game. The level leading up to the fight is usually a blast to run through and the boss fight just seems to be a required element that the level designer had to put in. I am usually jamming along, running and gunning, music cranked up, and then have to come to a screeching halt, usually a cut scene that breaks the immersion before throwing me before a huge beast that will require my entire arsenal to get past. I don't like it. I understand the need to vary the pace of a game. But I don't think this is the way to do it. I like the idea of running away and getting the boss to chase you, luring it into a trap. But you could only do that once in a game before it got old. I think the best way to create a satisfying boss encounter is to consider the whole game as the boss fight. Make the entire game challenging but doable if you use your head and reflexes. Provide multiple paths through the entire game that require different styles of play to complete. Keep the player moving, reacting, guessing but always keep the player moving forward in the game. If the player wants to slow down he/she can explore an area that they just cleared out to look for goodies. Make sure their is something for them to pick up, some eye candy, or a secret if they make the effort to go exploring. I hate exploring and then find nothing. Oops, I'm getting off the topic of the boss fight.
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Old 04-23-2005, 11:59 PM   #33
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Default Re: Boss Preferences

I think the best boss fight I've played was the final battle in Max Payne. You've got to shoot the cables before the chopper takes off, but there's bad guys coming out of the wood work that you have to deal with as well. There's no super-human dude you have to kill in the game (which wouldn't fit with that game anyway), but it's still a heck of a challenge.

If the boss fight isn't something like that, I prefer the pattern bosses. I still feel like I've accomplished something when I've figured out the pattern and taken the bad guy down.

The worst boss fight ever in my opinion was the end of Doom II. You simply time a rocket 2 times before so many baddies are released that you're toast. BLEAK! Depending on what comes out, you can be 75% through the fight before there's a challenge. Or you can be 25% and be unable to progress any farther.
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