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Must RPGs have a story?


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#41 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1825

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 12:12 PM

[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).


Your refutations cite __SOME__ criteria that other games have. I haven''t seen another genre that has all the features I mentioned. (Oh, and I don''t buy the fantasy setting... as for me, that''s NOT a prerequisite!!!)

quote:

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).



So you do go in for hybrid definitions, eh? Action / comedy? (Lethal Weapon) Action / horror? (Aliens) Comedy / horror (Scream).

quote:

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.



For a person who''s looking for more friggin'' non-medieval RPGs, I agree!!!! And yes, too many for my tastes become tactical strategy games.

quote:

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).


While I don''t agree this is the sole defining point, I do agree this element should be __MAJOR__ to get the RPG seal of approval.


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#42 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1825

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 12:19 PM

quote]Original post by MatrixCubed

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
quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft

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''.



Truth in advertising. That would be cool, but I''m not sure it''s practical w/o a review style explaination.

Here''s what I mean: Do you rent videos? Do you ever find yourself in the mood for a good laugh, or cathartic violence, or deep intrigue? Isn''t it great to be able to go into a general section and find what you''re in the mood for?

Genres, when the label is right, give you the ability to find what you want quickly. This is a customer convenience, rather than an artistic tool.


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#43 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 12:21 PM

If you think about it the genre of RPG (games), Alternative (Music), Drama (Movies) all have one thing in common: They''re sort of a genre where if it doesn''t belong in the other categories it gets thrown in there.

Also, movies that are hard to put into a single genre tend to be a lot deeper, and a lot more original (Pulp Fiction, Usual Suspects, Fight Club)....same thing goes for games IMO.

The point is people who don''t let the concept of genre overwhelm them, are more likely to allow themselves to just make a good game and to hell what genre others throw it in.


""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.


#44 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 12:25 PM

quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Isn't it great to be able to go into a general section and find what you're in the mood for?
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Nope. I really don't do that. I'm not just saying that 'cause it's convenient. I use the gift of literacy and read the back of the movie to see if it sounds interesting. That combined w/ what actors are in it (I'll admit that is a little prejudging but better than using genres), and what I'd heard of it sometimes.

My point is not to debate the use of genres. The public is going to use genres...it's inevidible. I am not even going to try to dispute that fact. The publishers are going to use them. The people who buy game will use them. All I am saying is that when generating your own ideas for games, don't think in terms of genres. They are limiting.

The point is: as developers, we should not think about our _own_ games in terms of what genre it will fit in. That's the job of the guys with suits.




""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 24, 2000 8:11:46 PM

#45 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1825

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 01:46 PM

quote:
Original post by Nazrix

Nope. I really don''t do that. I''m not just saying that ''cause it''s convenient. I use the gift of literacy and read the back of the movie to see if it sounds interesting.




Grrrrrrrr....!!! I know that part! I meant that in terms of WHAT isle you went to. Once there, you''d read the back! (Now imagine if they were all randomly distributed!)

quote:

The point is: as developers, we should not think about our _own_ games in terms of what genre it will fit in. That''s the job of the guys with suits.



Okay, we agree!!!! I just find that in trying to talk with you guys, I have a choice. Either I say...

"I''m working on a real-time character game where you buy and upgrade a ship, manage a crew, and fight, trade and explore in a dynamically changing, randomly generated cosmos"

-OR-

I say, "Guys, I''m working on a SF RPG."


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#46 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 01:53 PM

quote:
Original post by Wavinator

Grrrrrrrr....!!! I know that part! I meant that in terms of WHAT isle you went to. Once there, you'd read the back! (Now imagine if they were all randomly distributed!)



I usually end up checking out the new releases first, but that's not a genre that is just a representation of how long the movie's been around

quote:

Okay, we agree!!!! I just find that in trying to talk with you guys, I have a choice. Either I say...

"I'm working on a real-time character game where you buy and upgrade a ship, manage a crew, and fight, trade and explore in a dynamically changing, randomly generated cosmos"

-OR-

I say, "Guys, I'm working on a SF RPG."



Yes, I suppose I'm not talking about when you speak of your game to others. At that point using genres is not so bad. I'm more speaking of the internal thought process. When you think to yourself of aspects of your game, we shouldn't think as designers "I will take a little of an RPG and throw in a little twist here and there". The concept of RPG is not clearly defined and merely limits our creativity when making in the process of designing.



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

"Though the course may change someimes the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on October 24, 2000 8:54:57 PM

#47 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1825

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 02:05 PM

quote:
Original post by Nazrix


Yes, I suppose I''m not talking about when you speak of your game to others. At that point using genres is not so bad. I''m more speaking of the internal thought process. When you think to yourself of aspects of your game, we shouldn''t think as designers "I will take a little of an RPG and throw in a little twist here and there". The concept of RPG is not clearly defined and merely limits our creativity when making in the process of designing.




Again, I completely agree! I found myself about a year ago tending toward genre thinking while designing, and had a lot of problems. I''d think, "the design really calls for X, but RPGs don''t have X. Do I toss X? I can''t toss X, X is cool!!!!"

Finally, I said to hell with it, and decided to sculpt the design into what it felt it should be, not what applied to a label. Now, for good or ill, it''s free to become whatever it may.



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#48 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 02:41 PM

okay, Wav, I knew you probably knew what I was saying but I was making sure

I know it's not a knew concept, and LF has talked of it before. I just thought I'd mention it again. So far, less people seem to hate me, so maybe people (of course I don't mean people like you Wav..just the ignorant flamers) will listen w/out blindly dispising it j/k


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

"Though the course may change someimes the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on October 24, 2000 9:57:58 PM

#49 dwarfsoft   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1217

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 04:25 PM

We should just start up a discussion group ''What does LF think'' and basically make replies as we are less likely to get flamed for it. Maybe LF could even mail his thoughts to some of the regulars and get them to post for him. That oughto really freak people out

-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
          


#50 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 05:44 PM

hehe yeah that just might work


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

"Though the course may change someimes the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


#51 dwarfsoft   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1217

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Posted 25 October 2000 - 02:43 AM

OK... Back On Topic now...

What if you just define a set of challenges or obstacles that are not necessarily on the same path. You have a linear ending with a non-linear story. The player chooses how to intercept each obstacle and passes each in a way that they see fit. By passing different obstacles, they follow different paths and therefore a different story. All is wound up at the end though into a neat little package

-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
          


#52 ZoomBoy   Members   -  Reputation: 162

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Posted 25 October 2000 - 02:59 AM

If the writing is good, then develop the plot.
But if it''s not, give the player more things to do, and to interact with.

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#53 dwarfsoft   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1217

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Posted 25 October 2000 - 03:01 AM

I would really like to develop multiple plots with duplicity. This way there is yet another story to be told the next time the player chooses to start a 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
          


#54 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 25 October 2000 - 07:42 AM

quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft

OK... Back On Topic now...

What if you just define a set of challenges or obstacles that are not necessarily on the same path. You have a linear ending with a non-linear story. The player chooses how to intercept each obstacle and passes each in a way that they see fit. By passing different obstacles, they follow different paths and therefore a different story. All is wound up at the end though into a neat little package





There is a lot to this idea. I think that it is very true that a game can feel very different even if the plot doesn''t change drastically as long as the player''s interactions can change. We have spoken of how the game part is where the interactivity comes in. Well, if the interactivity is different then the game will feel different. I''d probably want to thrown some divergence into the plot anyway, but this is an important point I think.




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

"Though the course may change someimes the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


#55 AticAtac   Members   -  Reputation: 334

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Posted 25 October 2000 - 09:38 AM

For being able to play a role in a rpg, we need an environment
where we can play this role. A story creats this environment !
It helps our mind to get creativ and build a virtual world.
If there is no story, then there should be at least the possibility to make a story while playing (actually this is what happening to us in the real life). This is something which could be done in a "heavy"-populated online rpg (we are getting close to real life), but in a single-player rpg i am afraid that the AI wont us allow to produce a convincable story while playing.
So a predefined story will help out of this.

#56 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 25 October 2000 - 10:14 AM

If you take the title "Role-Playing game" literally, then no, RPGs have no need for story by definition. I could make a FireFighter RPG, where my job was to play the Role of a firefighter. All that this neccessitates is that I fight fires, perhaps pull cats out of trees, sleep, eat, etc.

But when you consider this, most games currently called RPGs really aren''t. Your job in these games is NOT to play the role, but to reach pre-defined story points, or complete a chain of cause and effect.

Does it matter? As Landfish said earlier; Nazrix is right, but to what end? Sure we could change the title RPG, but that would solve nothing. And we could certainly make an RPG without story... ever heard of Deer Hunter? Armored core? Quake?

#57 dwarfsoft   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1217

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Posted 25 October 2000 - 10:21 AM

AP, you missed the point. By changing it attributes, we are less limited as designers and writers in what we are setting out to achieve. It is not for the masses but for us to achieve something new and innovative... How come we are all unhappy with the way RPGs are now? Because they stick to the mouldy old rules. Let us clear away that and start anew. That is the end of the end, we create soemthing new

-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
          


#58 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 25 October 2000 - 10:37 AM

What is left of an RPG when you take away those moldy old rules? A simple video-game. If your resolution is to just make simple, good video-games, then I whole-heartedly agree.

#59 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5071

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Posted 25 October 2000 - 04:15 PM

For the record, Dwarfsoft (and others) popular conceptions of game genres do exist and they aren''t going to go away. If you think the current genres are confusing or useless the linguistic strategy to use is to create a new array of terms, publish these with definitions (e.g. start a new terminology thread), and then use these terms a lot and others will pick them up and use them. Words are contagious, you know.

I''m curious to see what you would consider to be more useful genre classifications.

#60 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 25 October 2000 - 06:06 PM

S&S, that''s really not our point. We are aware that genres are inevidible in every medium. Our point is that internally, when we developers are thinking about the design for our games we should not think in terms of genres because it limits us. If you set out to make an RPG for instance we all have preconceived ideas of what the game must include as soon as we decide upon making an RPG. So, it blurs our design creativity by having these preconeived notions about what a genre must include.

See? I''m not talking so much about speaking of genres to other people or speaking of genres that other games fit in. That''s useless and often subjective. I''m talking about our internal ideas from a developer perspective. We must think in terms of what fits in our games and let the public put it in whatever genre they see fit.




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

"Though the course may change someimes the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.





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