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Post news RSS Devlog #137: Can a game be truly fair?

New devlog entry for Shardpunk. Let's talk about player perception.

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Wow. Shardpunk is set to release next month. I can't express how thrilling it is to be nearing the finish line. Although, I must acknowledge that the game's release is more like a checkpoint, as there's still work to be done even after it's out.

I recently had a blast testing Shardpunk on the "hard" difficulty. I am pretty good at the game and enjoy a good challenge. However, I do believe that a challenge should be fair. Or maybe: it should feel fair, even if it isn't objectively so.

During my playthrough, I faced a tough decision when I had to use my only Fusion Core to revive a downed character, leaving me without backup.

Fusion Cores can be used to perform self-revive actions on characters

Soon after, I was overwhelmed by vermin and had to regroup while waiting for skill cooldowns to expire.

Katana Combo skill is a game-changer, eh?

Unfortunately, I've also decided to move my automaton out of cover in a bold move to stun the enemies. This proved to be a rookie mistake. The enemy took advantage of it and focused their fire, resulting in the automaton being downed. Unfortunately, I was out of Fusion Cores, which are the only items that can revive a downed automaton in combat.

A downed automaton - a sight that no player wants to see.

As I searched through the unexplored loot points for a backup Fusion Core, I hoped that the game would be "fair" and provide me with one. However, luck was not on my side, and I lost the run.

I started wondering if the game could be more forgiving in certain scenarios. For instance, imagine if the probability of finding a Fusion Core increased if the player has none left and the automaton is shutting down.

Similarly, what if the game allowed the player to find at least one stimpak when searching through stuff during combat if there were no more stimpaks left, and someone was already bleeding out?

Would these scenarios be exploited by the player? Would the player start playing carelessly because they would know that the game will save them when they're in trouble? Probably not, as long as I would introduce some kind of randomness to it - meaning that this mechanism would not give you 100% success chance of finding a useful item, but, say, 75%.

I will definitely put that in the game and see how it works. And if you have any comments on that, do let me know - either here, or on the game's Discord channel!

Take care!

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