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Decreasing Luck in Game Development

A topic by CCabia created Apr 20, 2017 Views: 454 Replies: 7
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I'm developing a game revolving around the concept of Rock Paper Scissors. Unfortunately, it depends on luck, which imo breaks games if not implemented correctly.

Is there a way to decrease luck and give skilled players a bit more advantage?

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Does Rock Paper Scissors have skill? I guess if you make a pattern, then the skill turns into memorizing patterns. Perhaps a telegraph a split second before the rock, paper or scissors is finalized? Level one could be half a second. Level 10 can be a single frame amount of time.

It's weird to discuss... but you should really study the game. Rock Paper Scissors isn't a game of luck, it's a statistical game of probability.

Played against the computer? Yea that's luck.

No I don't think there is a way. But there are popular games which are based only on luck for example slot machines.

It's difficult to imagine how something like RPS on the computer would allow skill to have an effect. If the game is "rock paper scissors" in the sense that there's 3 options and each is strong against 1 another but doesn't guarantee victory, then you have more options for how to handle it.

On the topic of managing luck-based things, I recommend checking out this;

Hi Tsun! This is an important question. The best discussion of luck that I've heard/read is Greg Costikyan's "Uncertainty in Games". 

Here is a video by Greg

Ro sham bo's most fascinating skill element lies in the fact that you begin the game with your hand in a fist (rock), so statistically, people tend to use rock on their first play more than anything. When humans are involved, patterns always emerge.

How does your game work? What are its themes?


For what it's worth, I wrote about this issue myself, and collected some links to articles on the same topic, over on my blog.

An interesting perspective is this blog article by the developers of Prismata, a multiplayer card game. It doesn't directly answer your question of how you can make Rock Paper Scissor in a video game be more luck based but it's good reading in my opinion.

To directly answer the original question, here's a variation of Rock Paper Scissors that I tried to come up with. Instead of one round, let the players play multiple rounds of Rock Paper Scissors and decide the winner based on who won the most number of points in the end. Now add an additional action that players can do each turn: up the point value of one of Rock, Paper, or Scissors. To make the game more interesting, the other player cannot see what point values your Rock, Paper, and Scissors skills are. Finally, when you win a round, the number of points you get is equal to the point value of what you threw.

I just made up this example and haven't playtested it to see if it adds interesting depth and an element of skill, but the general principles I used were:

1) Continuity and a sense of progression. This is achieved by playing multiple rounds and allowing your point values to accumulate.

2) Imperfect information. Each player has access to information that the other player doesn't.

3) Larger option space. Rock Paper Scissors is a bit limited in that you only have 3 options per round. I added another set of 3 options for increasing point values so there's 3x3 = 9 set of options per turn