Re: Game Balance

Amit Jayant Patel (
2 Jul 92 14:17:35 GMT

In article <>, (Vince Laurent) writes:
> I am interested in designing an on-line game but have come to a wall. I
> am trying to think of a way to maintain game balance. Here is what I
> mean:
> In many on-line games the one who gets the most powerful wins.
> This is not bad BUT for someone new to join and have fun and to have
> a chance to win is hard. Games that come to mind which are like this
> I would like to make it so that someone could join a game, late
> in the game, and still have a chance to win. I don't think it right to
> make a person wait for a game to be reset all the time for them to join
> for it may be weeks or months before a game will be restarted.

In SRE (another on-line game), all players pay taxes to a game
coordinator, and each player gets a portion of the total tax money at
the beginning of each session. This has two effects:

1 - Large players pay more taxes than small ones, but receive
the same amount, so smaller players benefit from the taxes.

2 - New players get an amount of money that somewhat corresponds
to the strengths of the other players. If you have a lot of
old, large empires, then the new players start with more, so
that they have more of a chance.

Another thing that SRE does is that it runs like a video game: on
higher "levels" (corresponding to stronger players), the game is
harder on them. For example, building up military is more expensive
(per unit) if the empire is old and large, and it is very cheap when
the empire is small or new. A new player will start with a lot of
money to buy cheap military units, so that he has a chance. It also
gets harder to play as time goes on, so any one player can't stay at
the top forever.

If you make it easier to run a small empire than a large empire, then
it won't be very easy to stay at the top, unless you're _really_ good.
(As opposed to getting to the top because you were first.)

Having your game victory conditions depend on a ratio of power to
size, as Jonathan Gibbons described, is a great idea! It gives your
new players a chance immediately, rather than having to survive for
some amount of time before they can compete against the others, or only
competing with people that join at the same time as them.

Good luck with your game!


/\\ Amit J Patel,
\\/ <- it's a dilithium crystal