What this tutorial will cover.
The goal of this tutorial is to cover RNG and how to implement it in a fair way for all players. Before I begin, this tutorial is subjective to my own opinion.
What is RNG? What is it used for?
RNG stands for “Random Number Generator” and is commonly used in randomization, for example, an event that occurs in a luck-based game, such as a dice roll. These events are generally random and can not be influenced by the player themselves unless otherwise specified in the code.
How should RNG be used?
RNG, in my personal opinion, should be used in scenarios in which the player can adapt to the result of the outcome. In many games that I see which have RNG, the result can be rather unfair. Imagine this scenario:
Imagine that you are playing a game which rewards you for surviving something. Let’s say minigames, for example! You have lots of tokens and are super close to getting a new upgrade in the shop. Wonderful! You enter the game and guess what, the mode that you are playing involves RNG.
Once the game starts, various events are being selected. All goes well for the first few minutes, but then you are selected as the game’s next target. And you are selected to suddenly explode, losing the match in the process.
Given the above scenario, do you think that this fair to the player? No. It isn’t. The player had no chance to adapt to the RNG being played, hence causing them to lose the game. Now, imagine the same scenario, but with a twist:
You are selected to explode in 20 seconds, and once that timer hits zero, you explode, losing the game. But wait! Across the map is a button which you can press, stopping you from exploding!
Now, while RNG was still involved, the player could still survive by pressing the button. The player had to adapt to the situation at hand and get to that button before they exploded. Did the player still have a chance of losing? Yes. But they had the ability to adapt to the situation, allowing them to survive in the end.
Giving Players Advantages and Disadvantages
On the same topic as adaptation, the player should have the ability to adapt to what other players receive as well, be it good or bad. Imagine the following scenario:
Players are transported into a minigame where they have to climb up a hill with obstacles rolling down the hill, impeding the player’s progress. The first player who makes it to the end wins. During the game, random players will be selected and will be given various bonuses and weaknesses.
You start the game and are in the first place, but then the game selects you and slows you down. All of sudden, your lead suddenly shifts as you fall into the last place, losing the game in the process.
Now, this isn’t very fair, is it? You were so close to winning, and then all of sudden, you fall into the last place by the game itself. Nothing could have been done. Now, imagine this scenario:
Your speed is lowered, however, you can jump higher, allowing you to jump over objects that normal players wouldn’t be able to elude by jumping alone. While the other players still have to walk around objects, slowing down their progress, you can jump over them despite moving slower than everyone else. The player can adapt to the situation by jumping, being able to keep their lead.
The message that I am trying to convey here is that if you are going to weaken a player in a significant way, there needs to be a tradeoff as well. In this case, It was speed for jump.
RNG in Combat-Orientated games.
Some fighting games, from what I have experienced, have modes that greatly mess up the player’s experience, replacing the skill factor with luck. Allow me to give you an example.
There is a game called “Critical Strike” on this platform which is a mostly fun game in my opinion. Players select from a variety of classes, each with their own playstyle, before fighting each other in various modes. However, there is one mode of which I am focusing on, this being a mode called “Wicked Time”, which is a Halloween event mode which gives all characters a strong bonus, determined by RNG. These bonuses can be very unbalanced, for example, a “Mist” bonus, which grants the player the ability to dodge any attack with a 50% chance rate, while a “Ghost” bonus greatly increases the player’s movement speed.
While in concept, this mode may seem like a good idea to some people. Players can adapt to the situation, but they also can’t as well. Imagine this scenario:
You choose a class which is very slow but has 200 hp (the highest in the game) and a very high damage output. However, you receive the ghost bonus, which greatly increases your speed, essentially outright moving your weakness. You basically become an unstoppable being at the point, replacing a lot of the skill needed with just pure luck.
Now, let’s talk about that mist bonus as well (the 50% chance for an incoming attack to entirely miss). This time, you are fighting against someone with the mist bonus, and you attack them. The attack misses. You attack them again. It misses. And it keeps on doing that until you eventually lose, all because RNG decided that your attacks would not hit the target.
One may call this unbalanced, and there are reasons for this. However, this isn’t the only issue as well. Players should have a strategy on which they can rely on. Tactics. Skill. It shouldn’t be impaired or become obsolete just because the game decided to make someone have a bonus.
I hope that everyone understands that I am not advertising this game by any means. My intention was to use it as an example of which would help you(the readers) understand this topic.
In the end, my main goal for creating this article was to teach developers how to manipulate RNG in such a way that provides each player the chance to win, regardless of what happens. RNG can be a great way to mix up each game. However, in some cases, developers just use RNG in an unfair way to the player(s), which ruins the experience for them.
So before I close up this topic, I want you to think about this when you decide to implement RNG into your game: Can the player adapt to the situation? Is it balanced for ALL participants? Does the type of goal that you are trying to achieve synergize well with RNG?
I thank you all for reading this lengthy post. Please, post your own opinions below. Did I miss anything? Have a great day, and stay safe during these unfortunate times. Stay strong, everyone.