Punch Money Poke
A downloadable game
1 week project for Prototype Studio class, Spring 2017. Prompt: the concept of luck.
RPS is typically thought of as almost entirely luck-based - it is used to settle arguments fairly in lieu of flipping a coin, etc. Yet it is also sometimes considered to be a game of skill - people can think of themselves as being good or bad at it. In fact, on some level, it represents the basic foundation of fighting games, where players attempt to "read" their opponent's decisions, aiming to be one Yomi level above the other to come out ahead. Fighting games are made more strategically interesting than simple RPS by adding layers of obfuscation and unequal payoffs, so that players are also being tested on their dynamic valuation skills.
This prototype is an exploration of how thin a layer of obfuscation is necessary for an RPS structure to be interesting. Players play a series of rounds of RPS - winning a round deals damage to the opponent's HP, but winning with different throws will deal variable amounts of damage. Simply having different payoffs wouldn't be quite enough - the mixed strategy Nash equilibrium strategy is still fairly obvious. The twist is that when you win with paper, you can increase the damage on one of your throws from that point forward, creating a wrinkle in the valuation - will you go for high damage now, or increase your damage potential later? The valuation constantly changes as each player's HP dwindles, and as the damage of each throw is augmented by upgrades.
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