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Must RPGs have a story?


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#21 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 22 October 2000 - 03:29 PM

quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft

Naz - yeah.... f*** the genres.... I am going for attributes until we can find something better. Do we have to worry about the different degrees of attributes in the game. I am also wondering how we guage Depth of a game and how you can determine the details of the game



Yeah attributes are a good alternative. Hmmm...Depth is pretty subjective too, isn''t it?


""You see... I'm not crazy... you see?!? Nazrix believes me!" --Wavinator

"All you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be." -Pink Floyd

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#22 sypher7   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 22 October 2000 - 03:32 PM

Okay. I see what you''re saying.

Whenever I say RPG, Final Fantasy 3, Chrono Trigger, those kind of games come to mind, because there is no other classification that they fall within.

Those, I think, are pure RPGs, where the main focus of the game is to play the role of a character within a story AND they have a unique style to them.

I was mistaken when I just threw 75% of all games into the category "RPG" hehe. I was more or less trying to support the fact that rpg''s revolve around a storyline. But I was mistaken by turning it around and saying that because there is a story, it is a RPG. My bad. (=

But I know what you mean: when System Shock 2 won PC Gamer''s RPG of the year, I was utterly confused. I thought to myself, "What happened to little tile-based characters and completely unique battle systems? this looks to me like a FPS..." The line that once defined RPGs has been quite smeared.

#23 dwarfsoft   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1217

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Posted 22 October 2000 - 03:46 PM

Yeah, that shocked me too. I never really understood what an RPG was though and so I managed to grasp this fairly quickly. (Hell, I used to call Diablo an RPG... *shudder*... A LONG time ago). The difference is in the depth (subjective it may be) and the way that it... bah! I can''t even explain it. It comes down to what you believe in it. I think though that I prefer tile based worlds for RPG''s. It puts the game back on the correct side of the old line...

Naz - when I was talking about depth, I was talking about how much history is put into the game so that holes aren''t discovered in the plot and the story as well as the characters. It is about having consistency throughout the game

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          


#24 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 22 October 2000 - 03:53 PM

quote:
Original post by sypher7

Okay. I see what you're saying.

Whenever I say RPG, Final Fantasy 3, Chrono Trigger, those kind of games come to mind, because there is no other classification that they fall within.

Those, I think, are pure RPGs, where the main focus of the game is to play the role of a character within a story AND they have a unique style to them.

I was mistaken when I just threw 75% of all games into the category "RPG" hehe. I was more or less trying to support the fact that rpg's revolve around a storyline. But I was mistaken by turning it around and saying that because there is a story, it is a RPG. My bad. (=

But I know what you mean: when System Shock 2 won PC Gamer's RPG of the year, I was utterly confused. I thought to myself, "What happened to little tile-based characters and completely unique battle systems? this looks to me like a FPS..." The line that once defined RPGs has been quite smeared.



Don't feel bad, man
The whole point of this is so whoever reads it will go through the same thing you did. They'll say "an RPG is [whatever]" then realize that there are no clear lines.
I've got to check out System Shock 2...Looking Glass just did so many things right w/ Thief that it must be good



""You see... I'm not crazy... you see?!? Nazrix believes me!" --Wavinator

"All you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be." -Pink Floyd

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on October 22, 2000 10:58:39 PM

#25 MatrixCubed   Members   -  Reputation: 199

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Posted 22 October 2000 - 04:56 PM

Well maybe we can abandon the old "roleplaying game" title, leaving it for any game that has the run-of-the-mill magic, strategic combat, adventurers, and (optionally) a plot ... instead, we can create a new category for those games that actually take the above to a higher level in which personalities, deeper meaningful plots, relationships, and histories are formed.

Welcome to the Fictional Life Simulation! ;P

(I know, it''s late; I''m going to bed now.)



MatrixCubed


#26 sypher7   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 22 October 2000 - 05:31 PM

dwarfsoft - I totally agree. I love tile-based RPGs as well. I would love to make one someday just for the fun of it.

Nazrix - Yes, check out System Shock 2. That game is awesome! Try mixing up Resident Evil and the movie Event Horizon, and that''s basically what it is. The manager at the store where I work (computer store) just got it and has been playing it non-stop. Only time that he doesn''t play it is at night (because it would scare the poop outta him. Well, and his wife would prolly yell at him).

"For some reason when i think of booby traps, i think of a bra hanging trip-wire style across a walkway."

#27 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1825

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Posted 22 October 2000 - 08:35 PM

I didn''t see this mentioned, but...

RPGs are marked by a few notable characteristics, aren''t they? (At least on the PC)


1) User infuluenced improvement of character abilities over time
2) Combat success or general action success more a matter of character ability than user aiming / UI manipulation skill
3) Shopping
4) Character dialog / talking / interaction
5) Inventory management, equiping and manipulation
6) Puzzles / missions / quests

The in some quarters most hated b@stard-child of RPGs, Diablo, had all of these. There may be console RPGs that violate these rules, but it seems to me that these are the basic ingredient when you say "RPG."

For example, the FPS / RPG hybrid System Shock broke the rules a bit when they modified #2 (aiming, hit detection), but even SS held to all the others (even #2 with Hacking and Psionics) pretty well.

Another example from the RPG / RTS camp: Rage of Mages definitely adhered to all 6, even though in the interests of managing an army I think #5 and #6 were diminished.

BTW, I don''t think story is absolutely necessary, but it can certainly wrap the player in a snug cloak of immersion if done right (for me, that cloak often becomes strangling, so I prefer no story)

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

#28 dwarfsoft   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1217

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 01:25 AM

The list was almost good, but a bit vague. The problem is that Diablo is not an RPG and it fits all of those rules. Diablo II was closer, but still so far. I think it really lacked in interpersonal connection. This is why you can''t define the term ''RPG'' because to people, Diablo was, where as in reality Diablo isn''t

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          


#29 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1825

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 09:27 AM

quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft

The list was almost good, but a bit vague. The problem is that Diablo is not an RPG and it fits all of those rules. Diablo II was closer, but still so far. I think it really lacked in interpersonal connection. This is why you can''t define the term ''RPG'' because to people, Diablo was, where as in reality Diablo isn''t




Vague????

OK, at the risk of ignited a religious jihad....

What exactly is it that makes Diablo not an RPG???? (Remember, I didn''t say "good RPG")

There is a story.
There are quests.
There is shopping.
There is item equipping.
There is inventory management.
There is character growth.
There is (albeit vastly limited) character interaction.
Combat success, no matter how arcade-like, is not a matter of aiming like in a traditional arcade game.

If you say that it was missing interpersonal connection, then I''m to assume that you need multiple people, and thus no single player game is an RPG. This I don''t buy.






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Just waiting for the mothership...

#30 dwarfsoft   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1217

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 11:36 AM

Ok.. I will say it simply. Diablo had no role and no choice at a role. It was simply hack''n''slash, click''n''kill. What else did you really do that acheived anything? As a warrior you probably (in your role) would have wanted ballads sung about you, to have been celebrated. All you did was kill. As for the rogue? What role did you play? A barbarian... Well, that is a little out of character. And the magician is just as bad. Where was the choice of role to be a jester, a farmer, a hersman, a healer, anything but a mindless slaughterer. There was no role (despite how anybody argues it) it was pure violence. Diablo comes under the term ''TPS'' which is Third Person Shooter (though shooting is more like hacking in this game). At least Theif was more like an RPG than Diablo, you were actually playing your role, not just clicking on an infinite array of bad guys.

DIABLO DIDN''T HAVE ANY CHARACTERISATION (It didn''t count) and Diablo II had some nice advances, but the characterisation still sucked. Nuff Said

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          


#31 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 11:45 AM

Ironically, Diablo had no more characterization than say... Final Fantasy. What it lacks in specifics it makes up for in ambiguity, which in games is SOMETIMES beneficial. I can''t imagine the necromancer having anything NOT cheesy to say, so perhaps better that he keep his mouth shut?

#32 Ironblayde   Members   -  Reputation: 130

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 12:58 PM

Sorry if this has already been said -- I haven''t read the whole thread -- but why do we need a rigorous definition of ''RPG''? We''re not mathematicians here, we''re game developers. If people look at your game and say, "Hey, that''s an RPG," then it is! You can tell people all you want that it''s not an RPG, it''s actually a game which has no genre and should not be categorized in such an inexact manner, but if it fits the *loose* definition of what people consider to be an RPG, then that''s what it will be called, like it or not.

Everyone does this. Dwarfsoft, you yourself are using these general ideas that everyone has about what people consider to be a game of a certain genre. You say that the term ''RPG'' cannot be defined, yet you are discussing which games are more like RPGs than others.

A genre is a useful way to classify a game so that would-be players will have a general idea of whether the theme of the game is along the lines of what they enjoy playing. I''ve played a lot of vastly different games that I would still consider all to be RPGs. And if I tried to come up with a set of criteria for something that fits the genre, I''m sure it would be about five minutes before a post came up saying "Aha! A counterexample!"

So why even bother? Make the games you think will be interesting, and do them well, and they will be good regardless of what genre it''s labeled as. Make a game simply to escape the criteria of a standard genre, but at the expense of the overall experience, and it will go nowhere regardless of whether it''s something new.

-Ironblayde
 Aeon Software

The following sentence is true.
The preceding sentence is false.


#33 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1825

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 02:59 PM

quote:
Original post by Landfish

Ironically, Diablo had no more characterization than say... Final Fantasy.



Good point!!!!

BTW, don''t drop out of sight LF! The game design world needs ya!!!!

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#34 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1825

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 03:12 PM

quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft

Where was the choice of role to be a jester, a farmer, a hersman, a healer, anything but a mindless slaughterer. There was no role (despite how anybody argues it) it was pure violence. Diablo comes under the term ''TPS'' which is Third Person Shooter (though shooting is more like hacking in this game). At least Theif was more like an RPG than Diablo, you were actually playing your role, not just clicking on an infinite array of bad guys.



Sorry, Dwarfsoft, but the logic doesn''t hold. Yes, you were playing, as Earnest Adams called it, an pest control exterminator for monsters. However, how you played that role meant a different game experience (which roles normally give us). You could play cautious, or bold and in your face, rely on magic or no. Limited, yes, but a role nonetheless, and a role-playing game by traditional standards when you add in the other stuff I mentioned.

BTW, I can turn your argument against you. Listing a bunch of roles isn''t adequate criteria. After all, how many traditional tabletop or computer RPGs let you play a prostitute, or a molecular biologist, or a kintergarden teacher, or an airline pilot, or a medieval washer woman? (In the rules!!!!)Does the exclusion of these roles automatically mean an RPG where you can play thief, mercenary, or spy mean the game isn''t an RPG? No? Then neither do the exclusion of the roles you cited above apply to Diablo.

Admittedly, it''s borderline. But that''s why it''s labeled a hybrid between action and RPG. When you hybridize a game, you normally get less of what it is that makes both genres distinct.

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#35 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1825

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 03:16 PM

quote:
Original post by Ironblayde

Sorry if this has already been said -- I haven''t read the whole thread -- but why do we need a rigorous definition of ''RPG''?



I agree with you a bit that if it looks and smells like an RPG, it''s probably an RPG. But there''s no harm in trying to name the thing. When you understand something, you are better at finding out what''s good about it, and can accentuate that!

quote:

Everyone does this. Dwarfsoft, you yourself are using these general ideas that everyone has about what people consider to be a game of a certain genre. You say that the term ''RPG'' cannot be defined, yet you are discussing which games are more like RPGs than others.



Agreed. I mean, you know enough of what an RPG is to know that it''s not Tetris, or Space Invaders, or Civilization. So there are __SOME__ boundaries.




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#36 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 04:57 PM

Thanks.

You guys are still proving my point so well. Genres ,especially, RPGs are very subjective and just limit our views as designers/developers. That was really my point here. All these posts appear about RPGs do this wrong and that wrong, and no one really knows what an RPG really is. It really limits our originality even if it's subconcious if we think of the games we are creating as fitting into a certain category.

What brought this thread to be was Niphty mentioning that RPGs should contain a good story like a book in the Game Design thread. Then I thought to myself, is that something that is absolutely necessariy for something to be an RPG? Then, I thought what the hell does an RPG need to be an RPG? Then I thought, it's very unclear what an RPG needs to be an RPG and that genres are limiting if we consider them while in the midst of designing a game. Then I thought, why the hell am I talking to myself?


""You see... I'm not crazy... you see?!? Nazrix believes me!" --Wavinator

"All you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be." -Pink Floyd

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on October 23, 2000 11:59:22 PM

#37 MatrixCubed   Members   -  Reputation: 199

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 06:36 PM

Can you really define anything by looking at its individual parts, and classifying it by concentrating on any of its features, or a small group of its features so that it pigeonholes into a neatly-defined package? Take, for example, the indomitable Diablo. It lets you buy stuff for inventories (so do some first-person shooters). It lets you kill sentient (and non-sentient) beings en masse (so do Warcraft, SimCity, and any Ultima. It allows you to explore mazes/levels (so do Doom, Super Mario Bros, and the default OpenGL screensaver in Windows). And (worst of all, I think the main point of this debate) it takes place in a medieval setting (like many other wrongly-classified medieval-setting-based games).

See what I''m getting at here? Convincing someone that Terminator 2: Judgement Day was a drama movie based on the fact that Arnold cried at the end is about as silly as defining a game based on "some" of its features or "those features which allow me to mindlessly classify it".

Really, looking at any game''s main concentration of activity (in Diablo''s case, endless killing) is the best way to define a game, if such a thing is necessary (making Diablo an action game).

My main concern, with any game called a roleplaying game, is that that genre is used as a catch-all for anything that looks medieval-based. Ever play Hexplore? Neat little voxel-engine "RPG" (it''s even got party management!). But I would say it''s more akin to Gauntlet because the main premise of the game is killing stuff and picking up powerups.

I still argue that a RPG, in its truest nature, must have character development (preferably active, rather than so many games'' passive) beyond stats and skills (in other words, persona development). Otherwise, it''s just a wrongly-accused strategy game.


MatrixCubed


#38 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 09:42 PM

Yes, Matrix, I agree. I will admit probably the most defining aspect of an RPG is the power of the being able to adjust the aspects of the character more than any other genre.

Although, my real point here wasn''t to get into a huge debate about what categories include what games. My point was that at the very least from developers'' points of view, we shouldn''t think in terms of genres as to what we are going to make. It causes us to have too many preconceived notions about what that genre entails. No matter how hard we try to keep our minds clear and open, we have preconceived ideas as we have seen in this thread. I just wanted to note that fact, and that thinking in terms of genres limit our creativity.


""You see... I'm not crazy... you see?!? Nazrix believes me!" --Wavinator

"All you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be." -Pink Floyd

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


#39 dwarfsoft   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1217

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 11:23 AM

I think we need to stop the organising into genres talk right here. It will get into a huge debate which will really go nowhere.

Matrix - You say that breaking down into little attributes wont help organise into different genres (or that is how I interpreted it) but we don't want genres. We want to be able to look at a game and say 'Oh! It has Characterisation with a of Interaction'. This would envelop more of the scene and would be more descriptive of a game than the term 'RPG'. I will now endevour not to use the term 'RPG' as it is stagnant and stale. If I do use it, it would be in the form of "blah.. blah.. term 'RPG'.. blah" or something else. We now need not get confused by the term any more. For a long time I thought that a game termed as an 'RPG' was always medieval and was always Isometric. When I found that this was not so then I really quickly became lost in what a definition was. It is since coming to this site that I have washed away any forming of the term.

I want some descriptive element rather than the flat meaningless word. If a term is to be descriptive and meaningful then I think that attributes are the right direction to be heading. At least they will be less constricting for game designers to adhere to

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          


Edited by - dwarfsoft on October 24, 2000 6:29:52 PM

#40 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 11:47 AM

quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft
I think we need to stop the organising into genres talk right here. It will get into a huge debate which will really go nowhere.



Exactly.

Yes, attributes are going to be a lot more effective. As for posting here, I think we should concentrate on individual ideas working w/ other individual attributes rather than presuming that everything about an RPG (or any genre) is static and we just want to add this one thing.



""You see... I'm not crazy... you see?!? Nazrix believes me!" --Wavinator

"All you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be." -Pink Floyd

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.





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