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Fantasy RPG Without the Adventure


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#1 Rybo5001   Members   -  Reputation: 490

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 08:29 PM

I've been watching these 'Olaf of Skyrim: From Rags to Riches' on youtube; their very funny and interesting to watch.

Essentially a man is role playing as Olaf, a homeless nord with no magical or adventuring skills; the player has set himself rules that he can only earn money through lawful legitimate means. He cannot murder or steal, his ambition is to become rich through farming, mining and hunting animals. Another interesting tidbit: he also has to eat three meals a day and sleep at night.

So it got me thinking, would a game centred purely on this concept be fun? It'd be like The Sims in a way, you're just a normal person living an ordinary life. You can't do quests, you aren't powerful enough to fight more than deer and you have to make a living in this fantasy world.

Maybe you can help heroes who do real quests by smithing them weapons; if you get enough money you could open a bakery or something. You'd get effects happening to you, like if you do not sleep you could pass out, not eating weakens you and you may die; you thirst, maybe have relationships?

Random events could also be interesting, so you are affected by the world around you. For example if there are two warring factions, the enemy could come in to slaughter the villagers (including you) but you're too weak to defend yourself from more than a few people. Maybe your wife gets captured and taken away, bandits burst into your home and mug you.

I'd also enjoy the idea of an actual economy that could be affected, for example if you sell bread and the nearby farm gets burned down, you lose your wheat supply.

But the key point here I'd like to make is to be realistic, getting rich should be really really difficult; and even if you become level 100 with maxed out skills the game should still be difficult; you'll never ever be able to battle a dragon or take on dozens of enemies. And not every skill can be levelled up, if you are a smith you can't suddenly become a good chef or sellsword.


What do you think? Could playing the NPC be fun or too restrictive?

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#2 Densoro   Members   -  Reputation: 196

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:04 PM

Depending on how it's done, I think this could be interesting. Maybe have a hard time limit for every day like in Harvest Moon, so you can train what you like after you've seen to the day's duties or decide to blow off your day job grinding out sword skill. A well fleshed-out battle system would be a must, and the presence of mythical beasties far outside the village could add a lot to the game. Your average player will get by selling bread and horse shoes, but the occasional, truly exceptional fighter could dare venture out into the world and make a name for himself slaying things three times his size. Depending on how well-written the combat is, the ratio of people taking on these 'hard mode' challenges would end up much like it is in real life. But the combat would have to be just about perfect to facilitate this: forcing the player to take turns bonking the enemy on the head like Final Fantasy won't fly, even for fighting deer.

Similarly, interpersonal matters would have to be a lot more involved than they are in Fable. Carbon copy NPCs put together from scrap parts, reciting one-size-fits-all dialogue repeatedly won't actually make the player feel connected.

Still, it seems like it'd be very easy to fall into a pattern of "Water the crops, pluck the barley, help at the bakery, go to sleep, repeat." The problem with marketing your game on having an unremarkable adventure is that it'll be...well, unremarkable.

#3 Supertails   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:43 PM

I think this would be an awesome idea! I've always longed for a game like this, without the simplicity of the Sims. The problem is that it would need to be really intricate, like Den said, and I'm guessing it would be really difficult to program and design. Not to mention it wouldn't exactly be easy to get into for new people and wouldn't be very marketable.

I love the concept, though. The prospect of being able to get through the game your own way, and the more options the better. Going through the game as a hunter, as a thief, as a blacksmith, as a sellsword, as a store manager, etc.

A well fleshed-out battle system would be a must, and the presence of mythical beasties far outside the village could add a lot to the game. Your average player will get by selling bread and horse shoes, but the occasional, truly exceptional fighter could dare venture out into the world and make a name for himself slaying things three times his size. Depending on how well-written the combat is, the ratio of people taking on these 'hard mode' challenges would end up much like it is in real life. But the combat would have to be just about perfect to facilitate this: forcing the player to take turns bonking the enemy on the head like Final Fantasy won't fly, even for fighting deer.

I love this, too. The combat would have to be intricate and genuinely difficult as to make sure that you can't just run out there and hit things until you're high enough level to punch a dragon in the face and kill it. Leveling up your skills should just give you more ways to fight, but so that you still have to pour time, energy, and tactics into taking down bigger creatures.

The most difficult part of making this game would be that you couldn't just have one design team, you'd need a bunch. Ones who can design game economies, who know the workings of merchants and stores, as well as people who can make such a fighting system, and make NPCs that you genuinely care for and who are going to be a part of your day-to-day life.

All things said, I think this game would be amazing if done right. Sadly, I don't think it'll happen just because there's not exactly a huge interest in it.

#4 Rybo5001   Members   -  Reputation: 490

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 01:38 AM

Carbon copy NPCs put together from scrap parts, reciting one-size-fits-all dialogue repeatedly won't actually make the player feel connected.


I think the only way this idea could be done correctly, were if it were a relatively small world (say one village and a forest) so that it could be very detailed (NPCs with a lot of dialogue).

And as I typed this it also occurred to me that a limited size area also presents another interesting challenge for the player: if there are only so many trees in the land, you can't chop them all down for your fire or the trees will all die out.

#5 Densoro   Members   -  Reputation: 196

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 02:52 AM

That's really the best way to do NPCs imo, and you see it in other 'small world' games like Harvest Moon. Nobody's a throwaway, an extra. They may seem like it because they never say anything relevant to you on your chosen path beyond "Howdy," but then you see your friend play a completely different way and they're best friends with somebody who you thought had no lines. Everybody's got a story. This is true in life, so it should be true in your game too ^^

And yeah, limiting the economy and resources is basically a must for a game like this to really come into its own. Not only should shops have limited money; they shouldn't be willing to spend to the last dime on you either. Lest we forget, they're actually trying to make a living, same as you. Plus, tussles over resources are basically the most common sort, so if someone wants in on the lumber industry and you're chopping down as many trees as we can afford to lose, they're gonna take it up with you. And depending on their temperament, swords may or may not be involved.

#6 Rybo5001   Members   -  Reputation: 490

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 04:10 AM

Lest we forget, they're actually trying to make a living, same as you. Plus, tussles over resources are basically the most common sort, so if someone wants in on the lumber industry and you're chopping down as many trees as we can afford to lose, they're gonna take it up with you. And depending on their temperament, swords may or may not be involved.


I love the two ideas you've mentioned here.

In most RPGs you can clear anyone's coin purse out if you have enough to sell; but why would they give away all their money for a bunch of shovels.

And perhaps intruding too much on someone else's livelihood can have wildly varying effects; one business may be forced to close, giving you more sales; maybe someone will hire a sell sword to threaten you or worse.



This whole premise is getting more exciting as everyone contributes more.

#7 elobire   Members   -  Reputation: 141

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 04:37 AM

To be honest, it sounds boring. I do enjoy those parts of RPG's, but if that was the only thing in the game it would become pretty dull.
It would just anoy the player if you did nothing wrong and sudenly a random even caused bandits to raid your village and kill you and for some reason you cant defend yourself.

#8 Rybo5001   Members   -  Reputation: 490

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 04:51 AM

you cant defend yourself.


Oh no, you can defend yourself; my point is you aren't some super-warrior who can slay hundreds of enemies without a scratch or just pop some herbs to keep going. You might be able to take out a small group.

Alternatives would be to run and hide of course, wait until the bandits move on, maybe even bribe them to leave you alone or trick them into leaving "There's a gold deposit in the mine...." *seal shut*

#9 Ninja2dan   Members   -  Reputation: 110

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 06:36 AM

The question of "Can it be fun" would depend on the person. Some grown adults can spend their day popping the bubbles on packaging wrap, or laugh for hours making fart sounds with their armpits. Some people are just much easier to entertain than others.

It's obvious from the posts here already that some people might enjoy such a "simple" game, just like people enjoy those virtual life games you see across the internet. The questions you should be asking are if making such a game would meet your own goals. Do you intend to make money from the game? If so, could you reasonably sell enough copies to recover all costs and still scrape a profit from it? If you don't intend to make such a game for money, do you know enough other like-minded developers that would be interested in such a project?

If you do intend to sell such a game, I think you're going to have a lot of problems earning a profit on it. And I really don't think any publishers would pick up on such a title, knowing that the market interest in such a game would be quite low. Imagine how hard it would be to sell a game the revolved around making Big Macs or mopping floors all day. People generally "play a game" to escape the real world, to immerse themselves in adventure and go on a journey that's normally out of their grasp.

I don't intend to hurt your feelings or say your idea is dumb. I'm just saying that the market for such a game would be quite small, not nearly enough to draw a profit from it. If you intend to make this as a hobby game (freeware), and have the time and talent necessary to see it done, then by all means go for it.


Personally, if I thought it was "fun" to run around and pick lettuce all day, I'd simply go get a real job on a farm picking lettuce. At least at the end of the day, the coins in my purse are real, the experiences were real...and the blisters are real.

#10 aattss   Members   -  Reputation: 387

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 06:45 AM

To be honest, it sounds boring. I do enjoy those parts of RPG's, but if that was the only thing in the game it would become pretty dull.
It would just anoy the player if you did nothing wrong and sudenly a random even caused bandits to raid your village and kill you and for some reason you cant defend yourself.


That's what guards are for. Anyway, you can try to run away or hide. Also, these parts of the rpg are only lame because the developers spend too much time on what they're trying to sell (i.e. combat and whatnot), not to mention that in most rpgs you can't buy guards and whatnot.

#11 Giauz   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 10:06 AM

If you do intend to sell such a game, I think you're going to have a lot of problems earning a profit on it. And I really don't think any publishers would pick up on such a title, knowing that the market interest in such a game would be quite low. Imagine how hard it would be to sell a game the revolved around making Big Macs or mopping floors all day. People generally "play a game" to escape the real world, to immerse themselves in adventure and go on a journey that's normally out of their grasp.


Do you mean to say that Farmville, Harvest Moon, Skyrim, The Sims, Dwarf Fortress, Minecraft, and MMOs in the vein of Ultima Online have this market completely saturated? I think there could still be enough lee-way to atleast warrant a try. You just have to put some new spins on the mechanics, like how battles work, how farming works, how crafting works, etc. It can't be obtuse for new players to learn, but if it works basicly the same as elements of the previously mentioned games then more experienced players won't have as much incentive to add another 'limitless' game to their schedules.

I think this previous post of mine might help get some ideas going (from: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/624851-unextraordinary-you-are-no-one-special-%e2%80%93-an-rpg/page__st__20 ):

In Dwarf Fortress, you are kind of ordinary in rouge-like mode. I say kind-of because I put a lot of skill in swordplay and maybe dodging (?) and ended up having about 13 people come at me before I began to die (there are a ton of injury description stages before anything dies in that game; before-hand I had killed about 4 people without anyone able to hit me even through the beginning of the town chasing after me, needless to say all the injury descriptions made me wonder how any of us were still able to swing weapons at each other... hmmm).

As far as your game, would there be some kind of story or set of game-goals to win or would it be a run out of new stuff to do type of game (like Alternate Reality, played by The CRPG Addict. I agree with him that a CRPG not having a definitive goal to accomplish can be off-putting)?

I think I would like to see a combat system that focuses on avoiding getting hit by an enemy (blocking attacks, staying out of their attack patterns, etc.) and using objects and the environment as a means of fighting. If my character's going to be an everyman like me, but in a fantasy world, he may be adventurous enough to get into a fight, but he will not want to get hit. Therefore, he will always be keeping his distance, getting that sheild always between the enemy and his body, stay behind/on top of stuff, and throwing/whacking with everything that isn't too unwieldy/bolted down. I find such a combat not only hilarious but also communicating just how human and concerned with his/er well-being my character is. If there is a party, there should also be sets of moves that allow for tactics to prevent other party members from being hit and/or becoming frightened (maybe some battles just make 1 or 2 of your party members run off because they fear some enemy far too much or they do not wish to be caught in the fray, and you will have to change up the tactics you were planning to use for most of that area's encounters).

So, any thoughts? Has that last part been implemented in any way in a game (because that would be awesome, and I would appreciate the name and where to get it)?


I hope you make this game you set out to make. Cheers.
"... the challenge isn't beating the game but rather slaying the final boss in one round, with just one character, at level one, with the TV off, while having sex with a burning lawnmower."

- Best quote about Final Fantasy EVAR! by HtR-Laser from Penny-Arcade Forums

... Also, I was formerly Glass2099 here at Gamedev.

#12 Arthur Souza   Members   -  Reputation: 1419

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 11:32 AM

I really liked this concept. Seems to be a cool mix of sandbox with the limited environments on the likes of hHarverst Moon. Loving the thread.

Edited by Arthur Souza, 20 July 2012 - 11:33 AM.

A.

Lotus - Action RPG In development http://www.gamedev.n...die-rpg-engine/ |
Personal blog In Portuguese: lotuzgames.wordpress.com |


#13 PeterF   Members   -  Reputation: 616

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 11:41 AM

This sounds like a fantastic game idea. I especially like the idea of a full economy that you can actually influence (a great, if a little under-developed, part of Mount and Blade). I imagine doing this in 3D (effectively) would be an immense project, primarily because each duplicate NPC or item will take away from it all. Regardless, I look forward to playing this game if you decide to go through with it. If you want help, let me know!

#14 Rybo5001   Members   -  Reputation: 490

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 11:38 PM

Do you intend to make money from the game?


Well I don’t think I plan to get rich off of this, maybe a small kickstarter if it seems popular; if not I’m happy to make games for free in my spare time.

That's what guards are for. Anyway, you can try to run away or hide. Also, these parts of the rpg are only lame because the developers spend too much time on what they're trying to sell (i.e. combat and whatnot), not to mention that in most rpgs you can't buy guards and whatnot.


Quoted for truth.

I think I would like to see a combat system that focuses on avoiding getting hit by an enemy (blocking attacks, staying out of their attack patterns, etc.) and using objects and the environment


This idea is very interesting, since you aren’t a soldier or skilled fighter you main goal would be too stay alive through careful blocking.
Also your mention of objects and environments intrigues me, if done well it could be awesome to say grab a random cooking pot to hit them with or kick them in a ditch.

This sounds like a fantastic game idea. I especially like the idea of a full economy that you can actually influence (a great, if a little under-developed, part of Mount and Blade). I imagine doing this in 3D (effectively) would be an immense project, primarily because each duplicate NPC or item will take away from it all. Regardless, I look forward to playing this game if you decide to go through with it. If you want help, let me know!


I think having unique NPCs is a must, especially if the community is relatively small, relationship-building would be essential.

Thank you everyone, I’m definitely going to go forward with this idea now. The game engine I’m currently using for projects is Unreal so it’ll probably be made in that though the way we’ve discussed it, in-browser support from Unity would be nice

Please keep chipping in your opinions, good or bad, and your ideas/suggestions.

#15 Randel   Members   -  Reputation: 326

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 03:25 PM

I would recommend taking a look at Recettear: an Item Shops Tale (you can get it on Steam, or even just the demo). Basically, you run an item shop, buy stuff and then sell it to customers. You can also go on some dungeon crawls by hiring adventurers, they do all the attacks while you just follow them (well, the player controls the adventurer but the merchant character follows them around).

There is also one Dragon Quest game that has a merchant hero. The guy himself isn't a big fighter but he knows how to buy and sell things and he hires mercenaries to accompany him on his routes.


What could be nice would be have a shop of some kind, buy stuff from adventurers, craft things, make deals with the local blacksmiths or other craftsmen, find out what's happening on the trade routes, and maybe be able to hire adventurers to go solve problems instead of doing that yourself.

I actually enjoy playing support roles in cases where I have decent allies who know what they are doing. In TF2 I play medic or engineer when I can (that is, when my allies know how to handle the job and the enemy don't constanly kill me) so playing a character with lots of support powers could be fun. Like you learn healing spells or skills... then when in town you sell your services to get money and maybe on adventures you stick with the group and keep them patched up (perhaps even in the event of a party kill you get captured by the bandits and they keep you on hand so long as you keep them healed and they might ransom you back to town, with a ransom you have to pay back).

So, it would be interesting to play a character who isn't "The Hero". He might be a farmer or tradesman just doing his job, he might be a merchant selling stuff to the heroes, might be the guy giving the heroes quests to take out the bandits, the medic keeping said heros alive, the captive held by the bandits and forced to heal them (or a willing ally of the bandits who conveniently switches sides to the heroes once the bandits are beaten), the guy who buys up all the loot the heroes get after raiding the bandit camp, and the guy who has to deal with the logistics of re-selling or crafting things with all the junk the heroes sold him.

#16 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3555

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 04:23 PM

I would recommend taking a look at Recettear: an Item Shops Tale (you can get it on Steam, or even just the demo). Basically, you run an item shop, buy stuff and then sell it to customers. You can also go on some dungeon crawls by hiring adventurers, they do all the attacks while you just follow them (well, the player controls the adventurer but the merchant character follows them around).


Dungeon Village in in the same ballpark as this. But you play as the mayor. You have a fantasy game type village to run, and by upgrading it, you attract new adventurers who move in and make it their base of operations.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.kairosoft.android.bouken_en&hl=en

#17 Rybo5001   Members   -  Reputation: 490

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 08:09 PM

perhaps even in the event of a party kill you get captured by the bandits and they keep you on hand so long as you keep them healed and they might ransom you back to town, with a ransom you have to pay back


I love this idea, it would have to be rare to stop it from being tedious though. I also like the idea of venturing out with mercenaries to protect you.

Dungeon Village in in the same ballpark as this. But you play as the mayor. You have a fantasy game type village to run, and by upgrading it, you attract new adventurers who move in and make it their base of operations.


The developer of that game made Game Dev Story, one of the most addictive games ever, so it must be good! I think I might download this on my phone today and try it out, thanks for the suggestion.

#18 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3555

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 08:39 PM

The developer of that game made Game Dev Story, one of the most addictive games ever, so it must be good! I think I might download this on my phone today and try it out, thanks for the suggestion.

Problem is, all their games are Game Dev Story with a new coat of paint. Ironic, since this is a bad strategy in Game Dev Story to begin with!

#19 Moe   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1248

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 11:07 AM

Still, it seems like it'd be very easy to fall into a pattern of "Water the crops, pluck the barley, help at the bakery, go to sleep, repeat." The problem with marketing your game on having an unremarkable adventure is that it'll be...well, unremarkable.

Now there's an idea - be as refreshingly honest as possible with the marketing.

"This game is probably the most boring one you'll keep playing."
"You wouldn't want your livestock to die from neglect, now would you?"
"Congratulations on your purchase, peasant. Now get back to work!"
"Starvation, dysentery, and dying has never been this much fun since Oregon Trail!"

#20 Rybo5001   Members   -  Reputation: 490

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 08:09 PM

Now there's an idea - be as refreshingly honest as possible with the marketing.

"This game is probably the most boring one you'll keep playing."
"You wouldn't want your livestock to die from neglect, now would you?"
"Congratulations on your purchase, peasant. Now get back to work!"
"Starvation, dysentery, and dying has never been this much fun since Oregon Trail!"


I like the idea but you'd have to be careful it's not so boring that it goes un-noticed, the slogans would have to simple but also humorous like the examples you've given.

I like the idea of an empty advert and then "There's no time for advertising in a world this dangerous" or something like that.




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