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Member Since 19 Apr 2013
Offline Last Active Apr 19 2014 06:38 AM

#5137252 Quantifying insanity.

Posted by JustinS on 07 March 2014 - 09:10 PM

It's fairly clear to me that you've put a lot more thought and [research? personal experience?] into the fine points of this mechanic than the average forum reader, so I'm not sure if you're going to gain much defending your ideas against the superficial criticisms we can provide.

That's not why I'm doing this. I put up the forum post hoping that the community would notice something Jeremy and I missed.

And there's no personal experience, but my ex's family suffers from stress-triggered dissociation. My ex's little sister especially tends to see her dead father when she's stressed out.

Nevertheless, here is my superficial criticism: it seems like you haven't made a clear distinction between the "real" mental health of the avatar and the perceived mental health of the player.

If I have a lot of concrete statistics to manage and specific rules and interactions to consider, along the lines of a pen and paper rpg, then I expect to be loosely bound to my avatar. I get plenty of information (more than he would reasonably have access to, e.g. his precise level of healthiness) but my means of acting on that information are mediated by the rules of the game and his current state. A crazy avatar, in this sort of game, might do things I don't expect.

On the other hand, if I am forced to perceive things exactly as the avatar does, then I would expect to be more tightly bound to my avatar (there should be relatively few cases where I don't have control) but at the cost of my unrealistic introspection with respect to statistics. In this sort of game, I would not expect my avatar to go crazy, so much as the game to try to convince me that I was crazy.

Both could be enjoyable games. In the past, I've played survival games that hewed towards either side (not with respect to mental health, just in general), and enjoyed them. But a sort of middle ground option might easily get confusing.

The issue here is that I can't account for how deep in character the player is. If they're deep in character a few hints of failing sanity will push them into the realm of madness. (As they, for example, have their character rush up the stairs into their attic with a gun, searching for the source of an imaginary creaking sound.) If they don't get into character at all, there is no amount of effort on my part that will get them to behave like a crazy person. This mechanic is really just some non-standard encounters and interface screws. It relies on player immersion to be any more than that.

As for the amount of information, all information in this game is skill-dependent. (For instance, medicine determines health information.) The speech skill determines how much information you have on your mental health and emotions. Only at 100 speech do you actually get a number. The rest of the time you rely on descriptive words.

#5137155 Quantifying insanity.

Posted by JustinS on 07 March 2014 - 11:20 AM

Okay, so one of my teammates sent me a list of features he wants to include in our sandbox survival game. One of them is a "dissociation" meter that measures the player character's detachment from reality and controls the frequency and strength of in-game hallucinations. Personally, I think trying to quantify insanity is going to be difficult and we'll need some help with this, so here we are. I'm not sure where we really need help with this, but here's what we've got so far.

The scale is 0-10000, and as it increases you have a higher chance of having certain hallucinations, these hallucinations become stronger, and once you pass certain thresholds you begin seeing newer, crazier hallucinations. For instance, with the rules he sent me, at 200 you have a 20% chance of seeing ghosts on a number of cues, and at 2000 you start occasionally seeing shoggoths when you try to sleep. The maximum is 10000.

Increasing dissociation:
Starvation and dehydration cause dissociation in the (obviously already quite unhinged) player, but not much.
Sleep deprivation and low will cause dissociation in the player, and quite a bit of it.
Some psychoactive drugs (especially alcohol) increase dissociation.
Some enemies cause auditory and/or visual hallucinations and increase dissociation.
Anti-psychotics (iloperidone, asenapine) leave you more dissociated after they wear off.
Killing other living things, to varying degrees, increases dissociation.

Decreasing dissociation:
Dissociation does not decrease during normal gameplay, but using the wait/rest/sleep feature decreases it slowly.
Anti-psychotics (iloperidone, asenapine) decrease your dissociation a massive amount temporarily, but they are counter-productive in the long term, are addictive and have nasty side effects. (If there's an elder thing standing by your bed you should probably just take the damn pills and make it go away. You can worry about your long-term mental health when you're NOT having an episode.)
Some psychoactive drugs (NOT alcohol) decrease dissociation in the long run, although they usually increase it in the short term.

#5115169 Tricking the player

Posted by JustinS on 07 December 2013 - 12:43 PM

Games are fun. And what could be more fun than a guilt trip? Yay!


This kind of thinking is what has been holding our medium back since its inception.

#5089535 Competitive/cooperative multiplayer shooter/RPG/RTS/Vehicle sim. (I know that...

Posted by JustinS on 27 August 2013 - 10:09 AM

You may need something to keep the 'out' players with something to do. Its often the most boring thing in the world to watch other people play while you are waiting (and depending on the sims reality you dont want them watching/spying from in-game positions where communications breaks the visibility/hidden movement mechanics of the game)

Well, thanks for that bit of wisdom. (Maybe there was something in that mead afterall.)

When they watch, they do so through the eyes of their team-mates and (if applicable) allied bots. They can't see anything their team can't see, except for what the bots are seeing. (Which yes, they can relay, just like the bots would if they were actually people.)

During this time, they can also ready their next character (if in a match that allows them) and read the database, or go through that match's footage. This splits the screen, so they can still watch the current events while replaying footage, reading database entries (and annotating them, if they so choose) or, if allowed, prepping their next character. Clans will LOVE this feature, by the way.

If they're out of good, they can also leave without leaving any party they may be on, and go spend time on the menu. They'll be notified when the party finishes their game and when entering the lobby again they'll be back with their party. (Or they can just take a keyboard shortcut.)

If none of that works, go get yourself lunch, or at least sone more coffee. That always helps.

#5088720 God-game pipe dream pt. 1: Intro and Worldbuilding (Open to suggestions.)

Posted by JustinS on 24 August 2013 - 12:28 PM

This is just an intro, a start-off for a game.
I think the core gameplay is moving around with your party and fighting mobs/missions ?
Will your party have some kinds of craftsmen(women) as well ?

Not quite. You have needs to manage as well. You may also end up with offspring to raise, (which are playable) and jobs to do. (And a LOT of characters, which run on AI when you aren't directly controlling them and can do the boring shit for you.) Crafting is an inherent part of the game. So is inventing. So is teaching and learning. The game has an element of "Civilization" here, allowing you to go from "sticks and rocks" to "bronze and iron" to "steel and gunpowder" or even "energy and nanotubes". The goal of the game (note that there is never a victory condition) can be technological progress, world domination or just survival, it's your decision.

How do you imagine this ?
Are there going to be predetermined missions(maybe randomly picked)/battles until the campaign tells the player that the empire fell, or is the player actively attacking the guards of the empire and if so, is the empire responding ?

Cut off the head and the snake will die. The game features a hierarchy system. Killing a ruler or destroying a commitee or what have you cuts those beneath them off. Some will take their freedom and run, some will find a new organization, some will seek a new master in the same organization. You can split pieces off an organization like this. Eventually, a faction can be destroyed using these means, leaving scattered pieces.

To answer your other question, yes they respond. (And how!) The player does have an infinite supply of characters, though, so if they are determined enough they will eventually break it.

As for building your own, this uses the same heirachy system. You take minions, either give them minions or have them get their own minions. They'll repeat your orders (usually with some slight mutation) for their minions. Cue the snowballing, and hope you don't end up pissing off a bigger faction unless you can do something about it. Easier toppling a pre-existing empire, as you can recruit leaders to gain all their minions at once, with existing heirarchy.

#5087235 Setting information in multiplayer games.

Posted by JustinS on 19 August 2013 - 02:52 AM

What you really need is human inspiration. I personally believe it's rather impossible for humans to construct truly alien cultures. We just dont have the imagination. Instead we construct human cultural aspects and give them alien form. This way what you really need is to figure out what human cultural aspects inspire your various species.

The issue is I can't make them an expy of a real human culture. They all have to be (and are) unique. They have a particular set of traits that humans may identify with, but also have a set of traits that humans do not have. I cannot cheapen them by basing them off of a real-world culture.

You can convey this by making the aesthetics of the different races resemble human cultures in subtle way. For instance. The slave loving "Simini" could use roman-looking architecture in their buildings or roman-looking combat armor. Or move in phalanx formations or something. If anyone is using a zerg-rush strategy try to sneak in a reference to the D-Day landing in Normandy or something. Game music and quotes and unit greetings can help this along too.

You're mistaking a symptom for the cause. Simini don't love slavery. If any simini was asked what they thought of slavery, they would tell you it is a disgusting and inhumane practice, and they truly believe that. Their actions are a result of their disdain for other species, they think of other species as animals and believe it's alright to enslave them because of that. While they do acknowledge that other species are above common animals to some extent, they don't see enough difference to give them any more rights than an animal.

Think about star craft:This is the cinematic when completing the terran campaign in the original brood war expansion:

Look how closely it resembles the world war 2 propaganda films:

Even down to the music it's clear to see what the inspiration is.

We know. That said, Star Craft is a bad example. The three factions are all planets of hats, bereft of any complexity or variation that might redeem them.

Now think about what makes the Protoss seem noble in your eyes.
It's in their dialogue. The music. The sleek architecture of golden structures. Their tall stature. These are all how you'd make a human look proud and alien at the same time. The fact that their structures are all golden and their home planet is green makes me think of how the aztecs must have seemed to the spanish conquistadors. Alien and honorable at the same time.

Yeah, no. The aztecs didn't seem "honorable" to anybody. The spanish saw them as evil, sub-human monsters to be slaughtered en masse for their profit. (Although I can't argue the "evil" part.)

So my advice to you is to figure out what human cultural aspects inspire each species in your game. Then start making that the template on their cultural design as much as possible.

Alright then, let's try the simini.

The simini are arrogant and self-obsessed and care no more for the lives of other species than Americans care for the lives of whatever "savages" they're bombing at the time. They also have a silly phobia that overwhelms all their senses (mention their ocean anywhere near them, they'll all get uncomfortable) and tend to get tunnel vision when working with one thing for too long. Hm. What human culture does that... oh, right, all of them. That really narrows it down.

Alright, maybe we'll have better luck with the bahaar.

The bahaar are servile, devoted and unquestioningly loyal. They follow the commands of their master to the death, and put down any among their numbers that dissent even slightly. They commit horrid atrocities without a second thought on the word of their masters, never even stopping to think that maybe their master didn't think the order through or might not have meant it quite the way they think. They also think that such unquestioning obedience is a virtue, and that the atrocities they commit are just, just because it's their master's will. Now what culture would... wait, that's any and every military in the history of the world. That doesn't get me anywhere either.

Ferroningen, maybe?

The ferroningen are practical, pragmatic and have no concept of morality outside of practicality. If they say something is "wrong", they mean that at some level it causes problems for them. They don't have any religions, they don't make art, they don't wear clothing, they don't have music. They do have emotions, but those emotions are hidden at all times until they go completely ballistic. They have a lamarckian memory that makes some inherently better suited for particular tasks, and as a result develop into particular tasks very well and do poorly outside of them, creating regimented castes in their very nature that don't seem wrong to them and really aren't. Now what human culture could possibly fit that? None? Huh.

This doesn't appear to be working too well. Maybe it's because these aren't planets of hats, and their cultures are too complex to be covered by referencing a human culture known for a single trait of theirs? It's starting to look that way.

Seriously, this is a bad idea for a cheap writer too lazy to make anything unique. Basing them off a human culture cheapens them, removes any point of complex or developed characters, prevents you from expanding or developing them and dehumanizes both them and the culture in question. It turns them into one big stereotype, and that is good for nothing and nobody. Small cultural references and inspirations are alright, but outright basing them, even just in appearance, off of a real-world culture is stupid. Especially basing them off it "as much as possible."

So how can this be done right? There's definitely a way, because it has been done. Let's go ahead and see this trope done right.

Halo. There we find this done right all over the damn place, but let's look at one examples: Sanghieli.

The sanghieli have inspirations in for the military castes of feudal Japan. They are honour-bound warriors with a respect for their enemies and known to welcome their enemies into their ranks. Their aristocrats, and only their aristocrats, wield swords in battle, and cannot wed but can take any mate they choose. They have a heavy emphasis on honour and skill in battle, are strongly loyal to their kin, believe that death in battle is honourable and have been known to commit ritual suicide to preserve their honour rather than be captured.

What makes it alright to use human cultural references to add to the character of your fictional culture? What makes this constructive, rather than destructive? Moderation. Basing single aspects of them off another culture is fine, but basing them entirely off of one, or "as much as possible", is a problem. Sanghieli have a lot of references to feudal Japan, but they have enough truly unique traits and other influences to make it come across as just a part of what they are instead of everything there is to them. Their appearance is unique and different, their culture has other aspects and their society is structured differently. They don't come off as a walking stereotype like the factions of Starcraft, they are actually alien.

Now let's try some moderation, here. Try drawing from a larger pool and adding unique traits. Thankfully, I've already done this for one faction: the kokome.

Kokome are descendants of humanity, (I know it's weird to say that with a game that takes place in 1985) who have spent decades under simini rule. Finally free of the simini and seeking to create their own culture, they turned to the history of the three locations most of their ancestors they were abducted from: Japan, Germany and Mexico. They also retain many influences from the Simini and the natives of Kakara. Now that the coalition is present, they're gaining ferroningen and andhieli traits as well.

Kokome speak a language called "Katahmah", which comes from a Zolaisn (Kakaran native) word meaning "of all those here", which uses Japanese grammatical structure with Japanese, German, Spanish, Nahuatl (Aztec), Canabi (Simini) and Zolaisn vocabulary. As of the present, they are beginning to incorporate ferroningen and andhieli words. This language varies heavily in vocabularly, slang and syntax depending on region. For instance, on Kakara I ferroningen influence is very strong, so ferroningen contractions are used. These compounds combine the key words in a common phrases together for the sake of brevity, and often extend to as many as six or seven words. Entire sentences become contractions, which serve the same purpose as idioms.

Kokome clothing varies by region, but the most common are imperial uniforms. Their uniform is a simini-style tunic (just short of the knee, sleeves just short of the elbow) without the folded collar, simini-style boots (almost knee high, buckled instead of laced, built to prevent chafing without a sock) designed for human feet and simini-style gloves (almost elbow length, fingerless, small zipper on the inside to ease removal while keeping them secure) designed for human hands. Hole in the back of the tunic for the kokome to fit their tail through, which was not previously present because the Simini amputate their tails. (No reason why. Just like there's no reason why humans remove their foreskins.)

The tunic has a belt around the waist with mounts for other objects, such as scabbards, holsters and satchels. No undergarments, although some kokome wear stockings on the outer planets, and some even go so far as including a full, simini-style jumpsuit underneath. If headgear is worn, they wear a shortened simini headress that only extends down the back of their head and does not cover their neck. (Simini headresses are a cloth attached to a headband, with buttons near the bottom of each side, with holes for the ears. It is draped over the back of the head, with the two sides fastening in the front and the bottom tucked into their collar.) Kokome clothing is strong and protective, usually made of tough materials such as leather or carbon fibre, with softer inner layers to prevent chafing. Regular kokome clothing has been known to halt shrapnel and even small arms fire, which is overkill for its typical purposes.

Kokome formal attire varies by planet. On Kakara I, they wear thin, lightweight robe with a cloak, cowl and face mask. This outfit designates them as imperial nobility, breathes very well in the hot environment and protects them from the sand, and the kokome usually goes nude when formal or protective attire is not required. (It's a practical thing, their planet gets HOT.) On kakara II, they wear an overcoat extending down to the knees, over either more common clothing, a light robe, or nothing. This overcoat is lightweight and cool, and is easily removed to allow for lighter (or no) attire when it is not required. On kakara III, where fashion is a bigger deal, it's hard to pick a most common wear although the clothing they use is all traditional Japanese. The most formal would be a kimono, but otherwise outfits such as a haori and hakama. On kakara IV, full simini-style outfits with a full simini headress underneath a heavy duster are preferred, because that planet is just too cold for light clothing. All of these are generally made of softer, more expensive, but no less protective materials and are designed to be comfortable and practical. All of these are also usually "simini blood" blue.

Kokome armour also varies by region, but the most common light armour is Imperial armour. Imperial armour fits over the top of an imperial uniform, clasping directly to the boots, gauntlets and tunic, and has seperate knee and elbow guards. Their most common medium armour is similar to the medium armour worn by ashigaru and samurai in feudal Japan and is often worn with a simple suji or zunari kabuto, (no mengu) with the next most common being more western-style light plate over chain, in term over fabric. (Plate cuirass, knee and elbow pads, boots and gauntlets, chain underlined with fabric over the rest.) This is worn with a gefechtshelm, also usually metal over fabric. Their most common heavy armour is western-style heavy lamillar armour, with large horizontal bands of metal and plastic, with removable ceramic plates sometimes being fixed to the top. Their helmet there is a heavy, western full-helm with a transparent visor rather than a slotted one and less impractical embellishments than normally found on western mail. The next most common heavy armour is a heavier version of the Japanese medium lamellar made out of metal and plastic bands with removable ceramic plates. These come with an eboshi kabuto and a mengu-style facemask that (unlike an actual mengu) is part of the helmet and has transparent eye pieces and a filter over the mouth instead of holes. All of these historically-insprired armours have modern features, and are often smaller in size, closer to the body and overall more flexible with less embellishment than the armours they evolved from. These fit tightly and are altered to be more practical instead of stylish.

Kokome culture is based heavily around fairness and personal merit, as after decades under simini rule they've learned their lesson about class divides. Their government is meritocratic, they NEVER charge for education, private schools are illegal (there are cyberschools, but those are run by the government) and most children live on their own near their parents, rather than with their parents, and earn their own living. Basic housing, at least somewhat edible food and most health care is provided free, (sometimes there's a co-pay instead to prevent abuse) taxes rise sharply with income (from a low starting point) and there isn't as large of an income gap between positions due to a high minimum wage and low cost of living. While there is still a class divide, it is smaller than in any other capitalistic society in existence, by a HUGE margin. This is intended to help level the playing field and make success be dependent on merit, rather than wealth. There is no support for those with little ability, but there are enough roles in society and enough options throughout education to make up for a weakness (no matter how large) in one area with just an equal strength in another area.

Kokome have no special laws regarding any particular species, subspecies, breed, sex, age or religion, and judge everybody purely by their own personal merit. They also don't allow you to use your species, subspecies, breed, sex, age or religion as an excuse for a lack of merit. If any of these things make you poor at something, you WILL be mocked for your failure regardless. Don't like it? Either figure it out or give up. For them, success is about finding something you have talent with and getting better at it. You will not be successful if you aren't talented at what you want to do. You can make a living doing almost anything if you're good enough at it, no matter what that may be. The kokome themselves are physically and mentally strong, and their distribution of talent is more extreme, meaning that at some things they are phenomenal and at other things they totally suck. (In-game, this means their tag skills and dump skills have more effect.) They tend to be drawn to fields that are demanding physically or mentally, especially those that take a lot of skill. Militarily, they tend towards weapons and vehicles that require a great deal of skill and either physical or mental ability, and usually wear light or medium armour, only rarely heavy armour or clothing.

Now take a second, there ARE a number of real-world inspirations for their culture beyond just the clothing. See if you can spot any of them. No? That's a good thing. Any inspiration should be subtle and moderate. It gives them a much more unique feel, which is something you want in a fictional culture.

#5079740 Nonnullus Delusion, 2D turn-based RPG concept (I appreciate input)

Posted by JustinS on 22 July 2013 - 09:41 PM

I'll be covering gameplay today. I'll cover creatures sometime soon, although note your definition of "soon" may vary from mine.

Movement and combat actions:
Characters are controlled like a turn-based strategy game. Outside of combat, left click on any character to select them. Once you have selected a character, click on a location and they will move there. Left click on an object for the default action. In all both cases, right clicking will display a wheel menu . In combat, characters are selected for you based on initiative. They will have a limited number of actions they may perform in a single combat round. There are six seconds worth of actions that may be performed in a combat round. Most actions take one, three or six to perform, although some may be in between. For movement, you have a base movement rate (usually NOT a multiple of 6) and your movement takes up an amount of time proportionate to the distance. For instance, if your jogging (default) movement rate is 20m/round and you want to move 10m, this will take three seconds. It will also take three seconds to move 8m, as all movement actions are rounded up. The game uses a grid that is, by default, invisible. When mousing over a location, it will tell you the distance. This grid has each square representing 1m of space.

There are command bars on the bottom and right of your screen (you can hide either of these if you wish, extending the screen) that relate to different commands. By default, the right of the screen relates to global and party commands. The bottom bar relates to individual character commands. For example, a special daily summon ability taken from a boss would appear on the right command bar, while a priest or shaman's normal summons would be on the bottom command bar with the rest of their spells.

The inventory is accessible from the bottom bar, as are combat commands for your character. You can also right-click them to open a command wheel related to themselves, useful if you choose to hide this bar. It also includes the party commands normally found on the right bar. The downside to the wheel menu is that it isn't as fast or convenient.

Attack options:
You will always have more options that just "attack" in combat. With ranged weapons, you will usually have three options: attack, full attack and magazine dump. With a melee weapon, you have three similar options: attack, full attack and flurry, but each of these has at least six additional options: jab, thrust, horizontal swipe, vertical swipe, horizontal swing and vertical swing. For both, once in melee range, you will always have two more: bash and shove. (Although I imagine these will get very little use for melee weapons, they're more useful for ranged users who get caught in a melee.) An enterprising ranged weapon user might choose a weapon or modify theirs so that they can use it more effectively as a melee weapon, although an arrow or bayonet is no match for a real melee weapon. Enemies have a base defence of 10 against ranged attacks within their effective range, and 20 beyond it. Some weapons may be listed as "light", "sidearm", "polearm" or "flail", each of which has special effects based on their classification. See below.

Your basic ranged attack option is usually a single shot, unless you can get more than one shot into a single second. (Then, of course, it'll be one second of shots.) If you can get more than one shot into a second, you will get an additional single attack option for when you only want one. Automatic weapons are special in that they can almost never fire a single shot. They have a minimum number of shots, called a "burst", that they will instead use when you select the single attack option. This is usually a fifth of the number of shots they get in a second. If you use the default attack, an automatic weapon will fire at its normal fire rate for a single second. Each regular attack is aimed and will incur a minimal -1 penalty for each of the previous attacks in the round. If firing multiple shots in a second, each extra shot will incur a -2 and an additional penalty for recoil dependent on the weapon.

Full attack fires as many attacks as you have left in the round at your normal attack rate. For cases when you get more than one shot per round, you can choose the "aimed full attack" option to fire only one shot per second, which is substantially more accurate. For automatic weapons, this option is replaced by a burst-fire option. Your character fires a burst for each second remaining, which is as accurate as you can hope for with an automatic weapon. This gets the same firing penalties as the single attack option, it's just a convenience.

The magazine dump is only available on weapons that hold more ammunition than your other fire options can discharge in a single round, an attempt to empty your weapon's magazine into a target. With most weapons, this simply doubles your normal attack rate. For semi-automatic weapons, there is a set maximum fire rate that they will meet when this action is selected. For fully automatic weapons, this is a basic full attack, and will rarely fail to empty the magazine. This options always takes the entire round, no matter how long it actually takes to empty the weapon. The rest of the time is wasted pointlessly pulling the trigger of an empty weapon. This attack option is also extremely inaccurate, and only useful at close range.

The melee jab option is a quick, accurate attack with very little power. It has decent penetration equal to the user's strength modifier (1/2 strength, rounded down, 1.5x for two-handed) and the weakest damage of any melee attack, doing a single die of damage with no strength modifier. The benefit of this attack is that you get your characters' full strength and agility scores to attack, rather than their modifiers. (If you already get the full score, you instead get 1.5x score.) As a thrusting attack type, enemies get a base innate defence of 10 against this attack. This attack isn't very useful, as melee weapons are very accurate anyway and when you miss you can normally just swing to improve your chance to hit. However, some enemies can be both hard to hit and have damage reduction (fey, for instance) and this attack option works very well against them due to its penetration.

The melee thrust option is a strong attack with decent damage and great penetration. It has great penetration equal to the user's strength score (1.5x for two-handed) and gets bonus bludgeon (regardless of weapon type) equal to the user's strength modifier. It only deals one die of damage, but this die is maximised. As a thrusting attack type, enemies get a base innate defence of 10 against this attack. Great against heavily armoured opponents, who often take very little damage from other melee options, and against whom it is easy to find your weapons deflecting off their armour with other options.

The melee swipe option is a quick, extremely accurate attack with very little power. It has low penetration equal to the user's strength rank (1/10 strength, rounded down, 1.5x for two-handed) it gets as many damage dice as it has normally, but they are always minimised. It gets bonus damage of its damage type equal to your strength modifier. Swipes get full agility and strength to attack, and as a swinging attack type enemies do not get base defence against it. Vertical swipes are similar in most respects, except they do not get a strength bonus on attack and gets an additional -4 to attack, but in exchange for this lack of accuracy they automatically score criticals as long as you actually manage to connect.

The melee swing option is a strong, devastating attack with excellent damage. It has low penetration equal to the user's strength rank, and gets full, regular damage dice. It gets bonus damage of both its damage type and bludgeon damage equal to your strength modifier. Swings get agility and strength modifiers to attack, and as a swinging attack type enemies do not get base defence against it. Vertical swings are similar, except they lack their strength bonus on attack, get an additional -4 and automatically score criticals any time you connect. Great against soft targets due to its good overall accuracy and very high damage. Against soft enemies that are easy to hit, a vertical swing almost always puts them down on the first hit.

The bash option is a quick, hard strike with a single hand. It deals poor damage, but the impact knocks enemies off balance. It always deals bludgeon damage, does not get damage dice and instead deals damage equal to 1+1/2 strength modifier (rounded down) with penetration equal to strength rank. This attack gets strength and agility modifiers to attack, and is a thrusting attack type. This attack ignores the damage reduction provided by guard saves, and on a successful hit gives the target a penalty equal to damage done to attack, active defence and guard saves for the duration of the round. The opponent must succeed a reflex save equal to 10+damage or lose their ability to make attacks of opportunity for the duration of the round, and a fortitude save equal to 5+damage or lose their ability to guard or make reflex saves. Overall, a good attack if you are using a ranged weapon and get caught in melee, as it allows you to back up or flee without being cut down. It's also a good block breaker if you have the strength.

The shove option is a strong, hard strike with both hands. It deals awful damage, has awful attack and awful penetration, but it is immediately debilitating and always available. It always deals bludgeon damage, does not get damage dice and instead deals damage equal to 1+strength rank, with penetration equal to strength rank. This attack gets only strength modifier to attack, and is a thrusting attack type. On a successful hit, the target takes a penalty equal to base damage to attack, active defence and guard saves for the duration of the round. The opponent must succeed a fortitude save equal to 20+damage or be pushed back a distance equal to damage done, a reflex save equal to 15+damage or lose their ability to make attacks of opportunity, reflex 10+damage or be knocked down, fortitude 5+damage or lose their ability to make guard or reflex saves for that round. A decent enough block breaker, but mostly used by ranged weapon users to give themselves a chance to flee from melee.

Special weapon classifications:

Light weapons are subject to the "weapon finesse" feat, and incur a lower penalty when used dual-wielding and especially when in the off hand. These weapons get a +2 to guard saves, but a -2 against guard saves.

Sidearms are a more extreme version of light weapons, getting more benefit from "weapon finesse" and incurring even lower penalties when used dual-wielding and when in the off hand. Great for fighters with a lot of agility and weapon finesse, and especially those who favour dual-wielding. These weapons get a +4 to guard saves, but a -4 against guard saves.

Polearms are the step between melee and ranged weapons. Long guns with bayonets count as polearms. Polearms have long reach, but cannot make attacks of opportunity and lose their strength and agility bonuses against enemies an amount closer than the end of their reach equal to the base reach of their user, and suffer an additional -2 for every metre within their reach an enemy gets. Best used in groups, so enemies will have a hard time getting too close to you. Polearms also have low attack modifiers, so accuracy is often an issue and getting through guards can be difficult.

Flails are powerful, but laughably inaccurate melee weapons. Enemies get a base defence of 10 against a flail's swinging attacks and 20 against its thrusting attacks. (Yes, it's possible. It's just difficult to get them to jut directly forward and telegraphs your attack like no other weapon will.) These weapons also have very low attack modifiers, and poor penetration modifiers. Their only real advantage is that they do legitimately do a great deal of damage, especially since they get twice the normal strength bonus to bludgeon damage.

Attack of opportunity:
The attack of opportunity can be performed by each character once per round (unless they have the "combat reflexes" feat) against enemies that are trying to perform actions within their reach that leave them vulnerable. This includes moving within an enemy's reach (without making a tumble check), attacking with a ranged weapon (unless firing from the hip), attacking with a polearm (as long as their enemy is not also using a polearm and the enemy's polearm is shorter) casting a spell, reloading or trying to use their inventory. An AoO must be a jab, bash or swipe. If a jab or bash, the attack gets a -2 to attack. If a swipe, -4.

Attack and Defence:
This game uses attack rolls, which most of you should be familiar with. Your character has a value called an attack modifier, and this is added onto a roll of a 20-sided die. If the resultant value meets or exceeds the target's defence, you hit. This game does not have an automatic miss chance or an automatic hit chance. You can hit rolling a 1 if your modifier is high enough, and miss rolling a 20 if your modifier is low enough. However, if you roll a 20 and you still aren't hitting, you roll again and add the new value onto what you already have. With multiple 20s, this continues until either you hit or roll something other than a 20.

Defence is a total of four values: base defence, innate defence, active defence and armour rating/energy defence.

Base defence is dependent on attack type, and will be either 0 for swinging melee attacks, 10 for swinging flails, thrusting melee weapons or ranged weapons within effective range, or at worst 20 for thrusting flails or ranged weapons outside of effective range.

Innate defence is a sum of various factors, most of which come from size, creature type, species and appearance. It is hard to increase. Innate defence is the most reliable defence type, as only the appearance value can be negated, and even then only by the "cold-hearted" feat. Since soldiers and lawmen start with this feat, you won't always have to take it.

Active defence is also a sum of various factors and is fairly easy to increase. However, it is a very unreliable form of defence. It doesn't apply to attacks in combat until you make your first action, it doesn't apply to enemies behind you and it doesn't apply while helpless.

Armour rating is provided by armour and other similar factors, and is intermediate between the two. It's easier to increase than innate defence, and more reliable than active defence. It is reduced by the penetration of enemy weapons, and some special effects reduce or negate it, but for the most part as long as you have a decent amount of it you can rely on it. However, armour rating has one major flaw: it isn't really defence. It represents a chance for an enemy's attack to be deflected, not for it to miss. Many damage types outright ignore it, and the attack maintains its penetration against your other effects. Only a few damage types are impacted, and the most common damage type (bludgeon) isn't one of them. Energy defence does the same thing as armour rating, only it works against a different set of damage types.

Rather than a simple maximum range, weapons in-game have an effect called a "range increment." When taking a shot, for every range increment between you in the target you get a -1 to attack. In addition to this, every fifth range increment gives you a -1 to penetration. Once penetration reaches 0, this begins to penalize damage, starting with the highest damage type. (If they are tied, the higher bleed damage type goes first.)

Area of Effect:
Area of Effect weapons, such as explosions and spray attacks, perform differently from regular attacks. AoE attacks do somewhat less damage than targeted attacks as a general rule, but they hit every part of the target's body at once. The damage to each part is recorded seperately, but health damage and bleed are treated as if it was a single attack with no multiplier. AoE cannot score a critical hit. AoE effects have an effect called blast increment, which is essentially the same thing as a range increment, except since AoE weapons do not have to make attack rolls the listed value is the range at which it loses a point of both penetration and damage. This value is fairly short, but most weapons still deal damage against soft targets a decent distance away, and the blast is often big enough to pose a danger to its user.

Health damage, nonlethal damage, body damage and bleed:
Damage dealt to an opponent results in four effects. Health damage is just straight-forward immediate damage to the target's health, although the amount of the opponent's health lost is pretty low and doesn't have a serious impact on them by itself unless your weapon is extremely powerful. The next is nonlethal damage, pain for most damage types, which is counted against their health for the purpose of tripping incapacitation thresholds, does not cause shock and cannot kill. Body damage is damage to whatever part of the target you attack (clicking on a specific part selects that part for attack) and impairs the target once you deal a sufficient amount of damage to that part, making it responsible for most of the immediate incapacitation provided by a wound. Bleed is damage over time, which takes ten minutes for most damage types (unless a constitution check is made to reduce the duration) that causes both health damage and nonlethal, and is the effect most likely to kill a character. Note that all of these are based on damage dealt, not base damage, so any defensive trait that reduces the damage type itself will reduce all of these.

Critical hits:
Critical hits are well-placed and well-angled hits that cause additional effects to the target. First is critical health damage, which is a multiple of the weapon's base damage that is inflicted on top of regular health damage. This also comes with critical nonlethal and bleed, although not body damage. Second is damage type critical effect, which is dependent on the damage types you are inflicting and is a special status effect that allows a saving throw. (For example, slashing damage deals MASSIVE bleed on critical hits.) Third is shot placement critical effect, which is dependent on the targeted body part. (For example, attacks to the torso damage strength, agility and constitution.) Damage type critical effects are dependent on damage and critical multiplier, shot placement critical effects are dependent only on damage. Critical hits are extremely deadly, always impair a target and require much more effort than normal wounds to cure. However, criticals are impacted by armour exactly as much as regular attacks, so you still need your weapon to be able to inflict damage against an opponent for a critical hit to make any difference. To score a critical hit, you must hit the target while rolling within your weapon's critical range. If you get to make multiple d20 rolls on a single attack, the last one must be within this range for it to count.

As health falls, an effect called "shock" kicks in and inflicts penalties on the individual in question. This starts at 80% with a fairly minimal -1 to initiative, attack, active defence and skill checks. This penalty doubles every 10% beyond that, up to -256 at 0%. At 60%, another -1 penalty to melee/spell damage, movement speed and saving throws kicks in, which also doubles for every 10% beyond that up to -64 at 0%. At 40%, another new effect kicks in, with a -1 to heal rate that doubles every 10% beyond that up to -16 at 0%. At 20% health, a new penalty that gives +1 to enemy critical threat. This doubles every 10% up to +4 at 0%. At 0%, any character vulnerable to shock is dead.

Needless to say, shock can absolutely ruin a character's combat effectiveness by itself. But it's not all there is.

Incapacitation is another debilitating effect, one impacted by both health damage and nonlethal. It reduces the number of seconds of actions you can enact per round, and inflicts damage if you enact too many. At 75% health, you don't lose any actions per round, but any more than three seconds and you will take health damage equal to the total body damage you have suffered. (Nonlethal body damage exists and results in nonlethal health damage, regular body damage results in regular health damage.) At 50% health, you are restricted to three seconds per round and taking any more than one second inflicts damage. At 25% health, you are restricted to one second and any action inflicts damage. At 0% health, you cannot make any actions, but will not take any more damage.

Like shock, this is not a pleasant effect and can outright ruin your combat effectiveness fairly quickly.

Damage reduction:
Damage reduction is a common, potent defensive trait. It's not very reliable and is easily negated by penetration due to its generally low numbers and it isn't as effective against high-power weapons as resistance, but it's a good effect for low-damage and low-penetration weapons. Damage reduction is a point effect, which directly reduces the damage dealt by enemy weapons. Damage reduction only works against certain damage types, which are listed in parenthesis, with no listed value meaning it works against every damage type that isn't immune to all reductions. It can often be negated by special circumstances, which are listed after a slash. If there is no special circumstance, then it will be listed as /--. The most common special circumstance is /silver, which means that silver weapons ignore this damage reduction.

Resistance is another common, potent defensive trait. It's more reliable (when from armour) and is harder to negate due to its generally higher numbers, but it isn't as effective against low-power weapons as reduction. Resistance is a percentage effect, which reduces damage by a rounded value proportionate to the damage it is resisting. Resistance is always a multiple of 5. Resistance uses the same symbols as reduction to denote its effect.

Apparel resistances are dependent on apparel type (not to be confused with apparel weight) and the damage type in question. Against those it is strong against, this is 75+15*Enhancement, for those it is weak against this is 25+5*Enhancement, and for those it is neither strong nor weak against this is 50+10*Enhancement. For clothing, all of these are reduced by 25+5*Enhancement.

Immunity is an effect similar to resistance in most respects, which stacks on top of it additively. Immunity is much smaller than resistance, in most cases about 1/5 as strong, and being harder to come by. However, immunity is NOT impacted by penetration, and is never negated or even reduced.

Armour and clothing provide substantial protection, in the forms of armour rating, energy defence, damage reduction and resistance. Armour rating is dependent on weight and quality, energy defence and damage reduction are dependent on weight only, resistance is dependent on quality only, although clothing provides less resistance than armour. Apparel also imposes a penalty on some effects and a cap on some effects, most of which are related to the agility score and its skills, a notable exception being current move rate. Lastly, main body apparel presents a chance for spells with somatic components to fail to cast. (This last one is reduced by class features for caster classes, providing a maximum apparel weight for casting without a somatic failure chance.)

Light clothing:
AR/ED 1, DR 1, Armour Check -1, Armour Cap 20, 5% somatic spell failure.

Medium clothing:
AR/ED 2, DR 2, Armour Check -2, Armour Cap 16, 10% somatic spell failure.

Heavy clothing:
AR/ED 3, DR 3, Armour Check -3, Armour Cap 12, 15% somatic spell failure.

Light armour:
AR/ED 6, DR 6, Armour Check -6, Armour Cap 8, 25% somatic spell failure

Medium armour:
AR/ED 8, DR 8, Armour Check -8, Armour Cap 4, 50% somatic spell failure

Heavy armour:
AR/ED 10, DR 10, Armour Check -10, Armour Cap 0, 75% somatic spell failure

Apparel has health, which is independent of its weight (it does get its own DR and resistance) and can be lost fairly quickly in combat. Damaged apparel provides less protection. At 75%, apparel loses half its AR and ED, at 50% it provides no AR or ED and loses half its DR, at 25% it provides no DR and loses half its resistance (to the nearest 5%) and at 0% it provides no protection at all.

Natural/Mage armour:
Natural armour and mage armour are identical effects that are provided by some races, attributes, feats and spells. Both provide AR, ED and DR equal to their value, and resistance equal to 5x value. This effect is modified by size, with larger characters receiving more DR but less AR and ED. Resistance is not impacted.

Penetration is a special effect present on many weapons that reduces defensive traits such as armour rating, energy defence, damage reduction and resistance. Penetration directly reduces armour rating, energy defence and damage reduction by its value, resistance by five times its value. Since these values can never go below 0, penetration is only effective against opponents that have these values and caps in effectiveness at the highest of these values present on the target. That said, penetration is the most valuable effect against these values, and trading damage for penetration can be a good idea against armoured opponents.

Magic in this game uses a Vancian system, which means you get a certain number of spells each day. Preparation takes one hour for classes that prepare spell slots, replenishing spell slots takes eight hours of rest, and one hour of preparation if you must prepare spells. You get a certain number of spells slots from your class of each spell level (usually not very many) and beyond that your caster attribute is added to it. This is equal to your modifier for that attribute, divided by the spell level (1-10) and rounded down.

Towns and Cities:
There are ten cities and countless towns in the game. The difference between the two is fairly simple: cities are separated from the world, must be entered from certain points, are designed to prevent vehicular entry and the guards outside will try to prevent you from taking weapons into the city. For towns, none of these things are true. Both are generally safe areas (although not always) and are the best places to find quests, shops and services.

Non-hostile NPCs:
There are non-hostile NPCs in the game, whose purpose varies from simple chit-chat to bartering and quest-giving. NPCs are also tied to factions, and any actions involving them have consequences. For example, one of the uses of the diplomacy skill is to increase NPC disposition, which also adds points to their faction's disposition towards you, although the faction requires many more points to be influenced. Another example would be harming an NPC, which lowers their disposition and their faction's disposition towards you. Killing an NPC has the same effect, only much more so.

Disposition, factions, superfactions and karma:
Disposition is a measure of an NPC's opinion of you. It comes in two forms, positive and negative. Positive disposition is capped at 100, negative disposition is not capped. The two factors run separately (although some effects on one will impact the other) and both have their own effects. There is a net value, which is used for most effects. At a net of -100, this ceases to have any practical effect. NPCs that have both high positive and negative disposition towards you will behave extremely erratically.

In addition, most NPCs are part of factions. These include things like families, small towns, military units and other similar-sized groups. Factions use the same disposition system and are impacted just as much by every individual action, but they use a 10,000 point scale. Among other things, faction disposition impacts the fame and infamy you have with individual members that recognize you, with faction disposition providing a 1% modifier to individual disposition.

Superfactions and megafactions are extremely large factions. These are basically factions of factions, with megafactions being factions of superfactions. Superfactions use a 1,000,000 point scale and impact the regular factions within them in the same manner as factions impact NPCs. Megafactions perform the same way for superfactions, and use a 100,000,000 point scale. Higher still is the global faction, which impacts every megafaction in the game and any DLC or user-made area in the realm in the same manner as megafactions impact superfactions. This uses a 10,000,000,000 point scale. Last is karma, which is the highest a faction can go. It impacts every global faction in Ginnungagap and uses a 1,000,000,000,000 point scale, which means that any location in a DLC or user-made area will be impacted by it even if they are in a different realm.

Children and babies:
Children and babies are abundant in the game and perform like any other NPC, but with an additional effect: Any negative act committed against a child has the values in all of its negative consequences squared, and for babies cubed. Any positive act involving them has the values in all of its positive consequences doubled, and for babies tripled. Don't hurt the little ones, or the game will make you regret it.

Resurrection in-game is automatic as long as a character has lives left. Resurrection costs experience levels, and if you don't have the experience you lose all you have and take much longer to come back to life. Not only that, without sufficient experience you'll be reborn as a newborn, complete with slow-dissipating status penalties that one would expect from an infant that actually was fresh out of the womb. (Except, of course, you retain your mind and all memories.) In addition to this, every character has a pre-set number of times they can be resurrected before the resurrections permanently stop. The only way to resurrect a character without using a life burning their experience, or to resurrect one who has no lives left, is the level 10 "wish" spell, which has expensive components and an experience cost.

This is the place where pitiful and sadistic earn their names. They both change the default number of PC lives and resurrection time. Although the others do impact the number of character grades you need to ascend in order to gain extra lives and shorten resurrection time, they don't impact the base value when you start off. By default, you have two extra lives and take one week to resurrect (one month for rebirth) but on pitiful you get three extra lives and take only one day to resurrect (one week for rebirth) while on sadistic you only get one extra life, take one month to be resurrected or one month to be reborn.

I'll be adding more to this post as I go.

#5079288 Nonnullus Delusion, 2D turn-based RPG concept (I appreciate input)

Posted by JustinS on 21 July 2013 - 05:59 AM

Today, I'll be covering character creation and options. I'm looking for input here regarding the process itself and suggestions as to the UI. I'll move on to gameplay soon. (Valve time.)

Difficulty selection:
Before you begin character creation, you must select a difficulty for the campaign. This cannot be change while in-game, as it impacts character creation very heavily. There are five difficulties, "Pitiful", "Easy", "Normal", "Hard" and "Sadistic". The gaps between "Pitiful" and "Easy" or "Hard" and "Sadistic" are the largest. While easy isn't much easier than normal, or even that much easier than hard, pitiful has no challenge at all and this game is supposed to be challenging. Hard isn't that much harder than normal, or even easy, but sadistic is exactly what it says on the tin. No matter how you do it, completing sadistic earns you some bragging rights. Pitiful will never earn you any.

In character creation, difficulty impacts starting character grade for your 1-16 player characters. It also impacts your budget, maximum equipment quality (in CG), starting money, and the functions of your home village.

First, select a species. There are seventeen to choose from. I had to cut three (mer, myrmidons and kobolds) for various reasons. I cut mer because as aquatic creatures they would be at a solid disadvantage for the majority of the game, although they might get added back in by DLC later on. I had to cut myrmidons because with that many seriously different castes they would be difficult to work with (although quite interesting, so they're good DLC material as well) and I cut kobolds because the RP for a creature that enslaves itself to a chosen master is hard to work with for PCs. (There will be kobold NPCs, and you can acquire kobolds as party members, they're just never playable.)

An arrogant, prolific race common in every realm of Ginnungagap. In Vanaheimr, they are a massive minority representing almost 10% of the population. The Tuathbaile Star's cities have massive human populations, although there aren't many humans outside of the cities. Humans have average stats, but are very flexible in their builds, good saving throws and excellent stamina. Humans average ~180cm and ~90kg, making them one of the largest humanoid races.

Another arrogant, prolific race common in every realm of Ginnungagap, if to a somewhat lesser extent on the former and latter. In Vanaheimr, elves are also a massive minority, representing over 5% of the population. Common in the villages outside the Tuathbaile Star's cities. Elves exist in four varieties: village, wood, high and dark. Village elves are common in rural settlements, and are the default. Wood elves are highly reclusive and avoid larger settlements. (The sterotype about them engaging in incest is highly exaggerated.) High elves are disciplined, albeit uncharismatic, elves common amongst nobility. Dark elves are strong and disciplined elves with little charisma and only average agility, common in the lower classes of cities where they are constantly either engaging in hate crimes or being subject to them. (Pride and poor communication skills make poor traits in lower-class areas.) Elves are famous for their "androgynous" appearance, with lesser secondary sexual characteristics (and primary, if you believe the gossip) with no tertiary characteristics to be found. If they are wearing loose clothing, it can be difficult to tell their sexes apart. This is particularly true with their children, where even other children and other elves (although seldom other elven children) can have a hard time discerning their sex. Despite this and the lack of practical physical differences between elven males and females, elves actually have very strong gender identities and significant mental sexual dimorphism. Elves average ~180cm and ~70kg.

Yet another arrogant, prolific race common in every realm of Ginnungagap. (There has to be some reason why all the most common races are such pricks, but I just can't put my finger on it.) In Vanaheimr, they are a fairly large minority representing nearly 5% of the population. They and the elves have a sordid history, but they're not actually either enemies nor rivals. Dwarves have very pronounced secondary and tertiary sexual characteristics and great physical sexual dimorphism, making their females very easy to tell apart from their males. In particular, dwarves have the largest (proportionate) breasts of all humanoids. Female dwarves are no more flexible than the males, but are quite a bit tougher. Dwarves average ~120cm and ~50kg.

Halflings are a reclusive race common anywhere humans are found. They tend to live in rural communities, usually away from humans, and in Vanaheimr are most common in villages outside of the cities of the Tuathbaile Star. They represent about 3% of Vanaheimr's population. Halflings are smaller than humans, and are even smaller than in-game human children. However, they have a slightly portly build and pronounced secondary sexual characteristics, making them easy to tell apart from children. Halflings do not get along well with larger species, although they aren't really hostile, and tend to avoid the children of larger species. Halflings steer clear of human children in particular, because human children are liable to beat them like rented mules over fairly minor offences. Halflings average ~100cm and ~25kg.

Gnomes are a small race often compared to dwarves in appearance, despite being both thinner than dwarves and having less body hair. Gnomes usually have beards, usually prefer intellectual pursuits to physical ones and usually cast spells, but they are chaotic and none of these things are universal. Gnomes, like halflings, tend to be beaten by the disgruntled children of larger species. (There HAS to be a better way to vent your frustration.) Gnomes average ~100cm and ~30kg.

Tiercs are larger, more muscular orcs that are never common and represent about 1% of Vanaheimr's population. Tiercs are muscular and bulky, with thick hide and an unusual development in their nervous system that leaves them in a constant, dull pain. As a result, they have grown accustomed to pain and pay it less heed than other species, but they also take longer to recover from it as it makes their own pain worse. Both sexes are quite distinct visually and have great sexual dimorphism. Their grey skin and facial characteristics make them visually unappealing to most other races, but other goblinoids find tiercs the most sexually attractive of their kind. Tiercs are the largest playable species in the humanoid creature type, averaging ~200cm and ~100kg.

Orcs are a humanoid species with a sporadic population throughout the realms, and are actually most common in Vanaheimr. Representing about 15% of Vanaheimr's population, orcs are in the majority in most venues. They have grey skin, and their facial features are ape-like and unattractive to most species. They have some of the best attributes of any medium-sized species, with good strength, constitution and resolve, high sex modifiers and penalties only to perception and charisma, but they lack in special abilities and features, cementing them in the "boring, but practical" category. Orcs are somewhat smaller than humans, averaging ~160cm and ~60kg.

Bugbears are hairy, orc-sized goblinoids. They are fairly common in Vanaheimr, making up ~3% of the population. Of all the goblinoids, bugbears are the most apelike. Bugbears are notoriously mischievous, although no more malicious than other species, and are known to pull practical jokes and scare people for no reason other than their own amusement. In particular, their children are known to go to great lengths to scare other children, usually through surprise. ("+5 points if they drop what they're carrying, +10 if they piss themselves!") Their sexes are less distinct than other species, and their females' breasts are smaller. They average ~160cm and ~60kg.

Goblins are small goblinoids that are simultaneously lanky and portly. They are among the most common species in Vanaheimr, at ~15% of the population. They have great senses, the best of any playable species, and high overall attributes. Like most goblinoids, however, they lack in unique abilities. They are good survivors and are hard to kill. They average ~120cm and ~30kg, and like most small species they often end up being used as punching bags for the children of larger species.

Gremlins are tiny goblinoids that are common wherever goblins and humans are, and thus are quite common here in Vanaheimr, making up ~10% of the population. They appear similar to goblins, although they are much smaller, and share in bugbears' proficiency at mischief. They particularly like to hide or confiscate small objects of people they feel have wronged them (or that it would just be funny to mess with) such as car keys, pacifiers, shoes, remote controls and tools. They average ~80cm and ~12.5kg, making them the smallest player species next to the fey.

Fey are tiny feykin, appearing as tiny winged elves, which make up ~2% of the population of Vanaheimr. Their wings can take a number of forms, including avian, mammalian, anisopteran or lepidopteron. These wings are mounted on their lower sides, just above their kidneys like a second set of arms. They are the most agile player species, and have great defensive traits in most respects they're just lacking in health. They average ~60cm and ~7.5kg.

Lizzies are medium reptilian humanoids native to Muspellheimr, very uncommon here in Vanaheimr at only ~1% of the population. They are humanoid, but have the characteristics of both crocodiles and lizards, including a crocodilian tail. They are tan or light green in colour, more often light green here, and they stick towards the south end of the star and seldom venture further north. They're a bit lighter than humans, at ~180cm and ~80kg.

Sparrifiskr are medium aquatic humanoids native to Alfheimr, with a small presence in Vanaheimr of only ~2% of the total population. They are humanoid with both fish and amphibian characteristics. Their face is fish-like in some aspects, although their body is more frog-like and they can function on land and in water. They even have mammalian characteristics, such as multiple mammary glands. Rather than being humanoid, these are under six small dugs that lactate from birth. They are well known for their natural talent with spears and polearms, and their love for both divine magic and multiclassing. I can say with certainty that every sparrifiskr you meet will be multiclass and able to cast divine spells. They average ~180cm and ~90kg.

Frolls are large, humanoid giants native to Niflheimr, with a small presence here in Vanaheimr of ~2% of the total population. They are large, furry, many-eyed ape-like creatures known for their regeneration, tolerance for cold and weakness to energy damage. Frolls, like most trolls, have strong sexual dimorphism but most of it is not obvious at a first glance. Their stats are pretty bad and their special abilities aren't stellar either, but their large size is a nice advantage. They average ~300cm and ~200kg, making them the largest non-aberration player species.

Nagas are large aberrations with a considerable presence here in Vanaheimr of ~5% of the population, with the lower body of an enormous snake and the upper body of a human. They are very large, but their humanoid upper body is of normal size and they perform better as spellcasters than melee combat. That said, nagas have a powerful venom, a vampiric bite, an immense constrictive tail and unhinging jaw that all make them quite dangerous to any enemy they manage to grapple. Nagas are considered extremely attractive by humanoids, and their generally laid back, gentle demeanour helps them get along with humanoids better than other aberrations can. They put a heavy emphasis on family and are very protective of children. These instinct are so strong they apply to children of other species, and even naga children get extremely protective of their friends. On that note, naga children are naturally cutesy and crave physical contact insatiably, making them the most desired adoptees in every realm. As adults, nagas average ~500cm length, ~180cm height and ~400kg mass.

Spinners are large/huge aberrations with their largest presence here in Vanaheimr at ~10% of the population, with the lower body of a spider and the upper body of a human. Their females are much larger than their males, although their males have overall better stats and abilities to make up for this. They are poisonous and are very mobile, capable of scaling vertical surfaces like no other species can. They lack a vampiric bite, but they can deliver a nasty (if not usually fatal) venom and swallow prey whole. (Although swallowing healthy prey is suicide, even if they pull it off.) Stereotypes to the contrary, it's actually an extreme rarity for a spinner woman to eat her mate. Spinners are very reclusive and tend to wander in nomadic family groups, only interacting with outsiders long enough to trade and mate. Their males average ~175cm tall, ~150cm long, ~350cm in legspan and ~150kg in mass. Their females average ~350cm, ~250cm, ~600cm and ~600kg.

Skor are huge aberrations and the largest player species, although they are rare in all realms and only represent ~1% of the population here in Vanaheimr. They are the most venomous playable species, although their venom is still usually not fatal to a human. They also have unhinging jaws that let them swallow prey whole, although they need to kill or otherwise incapacitate the prey first if they aren't trying to commit suicide. They are extremely reclusive, preferring to live in solitude and only interact with other sapients when they mate. They barely even raise their young, although for a species as large and imposing as a skor that's not a big deal as most creatures wouldn't dare go anywhere near their young and if they did they couldn't do much anyway because even as babies skor are deadly apex predators. Skor average ~350cm in height and length, ~500cm in legspan and ~800kg in mass.

Ages and sexes:
There are two sexes and give ages to choose from. Age is a full template that drastically alters the performance of a character, sex is a simple statistical modifier that is dependent on age. The five age groups are "baby", "child", "adult", "elder" and "ancient".

The adult age group is the standard, with intermediate skills and neither saving throw nor attribute modifiers. Their sex modifiers are intermediate, +2 strength for males of most species and +2 agility for females of most species, although this is far from universal and many species have different modifiers. Their alignment is default. Ideally, this represents a healthy, active adult between 15 and 25 years of age, although if pressed it can represent an individual as young as 12 or as old as 35.

The elder age group is slightly stronger early game, but advances slightly slower. They have higher saving throws, more starting skill points, significant skill bonuses and high sex modifiers. (+3) Their resolve is extremely high, making them excellent divine casters, although their perception and physical stats are all slightly lower. However, they are slower, heal slower, earn slightly less experience and earn fewer skill points as they level. Their senses are also pretty bad, so keep some younger eyes around them at all times. They tend towards order, and this shifts their alignment restrictions somewhat. This ideally represents a healthy, active adult between the age of 40 and 50, although it may go as young as 35 or as old as 75.

The ancient age group is a much more extreme version of the elder age group, with all modifiers being doubled. Their sex modifiers are all the way up at +4. This age group ideally represents a healthy and active (as much as they can be) adult of 80 years or more with no upper limit other than death, although some people may count in this age group as young as 70, 60 or even 50. They have a strong lawful bent, which impacts they alignment restrictions a lot.

The child age group is weaker early game, but advances quickly. They are smaller, have lower saving throws, fewer starting skill points, slightly lower starting speed, significant skill penalties, smaller +1 sex modifiers, low strength and resolve. However, they heal faster, earn experience faster, get more skill points per level, have some significant skill bonuses (such as +2 search, spot and listen from their excellent senses), are very cute (yes, this actually has a tangible in-game effect) and higher agility, constitution and charisma. (Especially charisma.) They tend towards chaos, and this shifts their alignment restrictions somewhat. This ideally represents a healthy, active child between 6 and 10 years of age, but can go as low as 4 or as old as 12.

The baby age group is a much more extreme version of the child age group, with all modifiers provided being doubled. Their sex modifiers are 0 by default, so for most species they have no effect. (Some have other sex modifiers, or intensify the default ones, and thus will have effect here.) They have a strongly chaotic bent, which shifts their alignment restrictions a lot. This ideally represents a toddler between 2 and 3 years of age, although it can represent an infant as young as a couple months or a child of 4 years or even a bit older.



There are twenty playable classes in the game. These work in a similar manner to D&D classes, which means you can easily mix and match classes as you see fit rather than being stuck with your starting class. Starting class is used as the emblem above a sprite when not selected, although all are visible once you select them.


The soldier is a solid combat class, which allows itself to be fine-tuned for specific situations. They're good with cover and work best in groups. You must have at least one member different class in your party to have a soldier. Their emblem is a dead child being eaten by a dog, lying inside a black, heart-shaped box held by an iron hand.

The warrior is another solid combat class, built around finesse and timing. They have a number of limited-use states that, depending on circumstance, range from barely useful to obscenely powerful. Used properly, this is an extremely powerful class. Used improperly, it's not worth the party slot. Their emblem is a child bearing a sword, facing a threshold with a large horned shadow coming through it.

Martial artist:
The martial artist is a customizable class with a long list of options they can mix and match to fit their playstyle. A martial artist can unparalleled at one thing or pretty good at everything, depending on their build. They use a renewable resource called "ki" with most of their abilities. Depending on their build, this can be meaningless, the biggest factor in their effectiveness or somewhere in between. Their emblem is a child, hand up, with a velvet-gloved, iron hand guiding their wrist.

Guardian Sentinel:

The sentinel is a defensive class with defensive traits. They have the best survivability, have mild healing powers and are good at protecting their allies. Their emblem is a child clutching a heart-shaped box to their chest. Uses constitution for casting. Several adults are visible through the box's lid.

EDIT: I retconned this class's title to avoid confusion between this class and guardian deities.


The lawman is a very finicky offensive class with good social ability. Lawmen get away with everything socially, it takes a lot of abuse for them to see punishment. They have great offensive power at the beginning of combat. Unfortunately, their defensive traits aren't the best and their offensive traits vanish once injured. Their emblem is a dead child being beaten with an iron fist.

The scout is a great class when it comes to their senses. They have good skills, and automatically gain bonuses to search, spot and listen as they level. Scouts are also very stealthy, and although they don't get all the fancy special abilities of a rogue they do get sneak attack. Scouts have the best visual range, and have good ranged weapon proficiencies. They have mild, perception-based casting abilities. Their emblem is a child, in a tree, with a looking glass.


Bards are a jack of all trades. They can cast spells to some extent, they have decent vitality and proficiencies, they can cast in light armour and they can use music and poetry to buff allies and debuff enemies. They are heavily dependent on alignment, as although they must be chaotic their personality determines their casting. Bards are manic depressive and can switch personalities daily, for greater flexibility. Bards are all about style, and at level 1 may choose a free combat style feat (soldiery, dueling or two-weapon fighting) to help them develop a personal style. Uses charisma for casting. Their emblem is a child with a lute, writing with a quill upon parchment.


Rangers are a cross between a combatant class and a divine caster. They cast spells with a wide selection but limited daily allotment, and although their combat abilities aren't stellar they are highly modular. Their emblem is a child, arm outstretched and a bird landing upon it.


The rogue is a stealth-based, skill heavy specialist class. Their primary combat ability is the sneak attack, a special ability of theirs that grows as they level. Unlike the scout, the rogue can improve their sneak attack with a long list of exclusive feats they can pick from for free as they level. These will either give them more opportunities to use the sneak attack or enhance its effects, or alternately increase other combat abilities and set up for an increase in usage. Their emblem is a child hiding behind a counter holding a knife and a loaf of bread, before a threshold with a large horned shadow standing in it.

The mystic is a gambler's class. While they are a lot like a bard in that they do a little of everything, they are more focused on casting and their special ability: the tarot deck. They carry an enchanted tarot deck they use to cast spells from. They draw a random card from the deck to produce an effect, or draw a hand to mix and match their effects. Each card has multiple options, but can only be used once daily. This is very random, but as they level they get more control by getting to draw more cards (and put back any they don't want from a particular hand without using them) and thus they gain more power. Uses charisma for casting. Their emblem is a blind child holding a hand of cards: The World, The Fool, The Tower, The Lovers and The Devil.


The savant is a mediocre, skill heavy, non-caster jack of all trades at first glance. Upon closer examination they are the most flexible non-caster class in the game and they advance very quickly. They get the most skill points and every skill is a class skill. They get an experience point bonus right off the bat, and the experience point bonus provided by their perception is vastly increased. They even get bonus feats to help them out, and they have good starting proficiencies. While they are weak early on, with the right build they progress faster than any other class and they can be tailored to fill any combat role. Their emblem is a child sitting on a chair in an empty room, reading a book by candlelight.

The artisan is the class for crafting and repair. They have no magic and only decent combat ability, but they can craft things no other class can, enchant things without meeting the spell prerequisites, improve gear much more, repair things better and even fix things quickly in combat and without relying on magic. An artisan is a valuable asset to any team, although any team only needs one. Their emblem is a child sitting at a desk, sketching. Adults are faintly visible, obscured in the background, quarrelling with one another.

The noble is a social class like no other, capable of getting away with almost anything, getting better prices than anyone else and earning more money than they deserve. The noble can only be taken as a starting class. Their emblem is a child wearing a black coat, with a red right hand clutching green paper to their abdomen, fingers in their coat.


Workers are tough jacks of all trades, with good skills and starting proficiencies. They get bonus feats, tire less easily than other classes, do good work in their chosen profession, have survivability and improve somewhat faster in their physical stats. Their emblem is a child, holding a pickaxe, being struck with a whip.


Shamans are excellent healers, with great casting power and two animals that can also cast spells of their own. Between their companion, their familiar and their own casting power, they can cast more often than any other class. However, their combat abilities are awful and they resent advanced technology, limiting what resources they can use. Uses resolve for casting. Their emblem is a child sitting against a tree watching a dog, while the dog watches an owl and the owl watches the child.


The priest is the alternative to the shaman. They have better personal casting power and combat ability, complete with special abilities that impact the undead. That said, they don't have any animals to add to their casting power so they overall are not as good in that role. Uses resolve for casting. Their emblem is a pile of burning books and an iron fist beating a dead child with a rod.


The physician is a healing class. Great casting power, doesn't prepare spell slots, charisma rather than resolve, excellent with wands, staves and scrolls. Very good in defensive situations, damage control and healing. Their emblem is a headless child kneeling next to a beheaded adult, trying to put the adult's head back on.


A highly modular arcane caster class that learns spell easily for its selection and is very good with wands, staves and scrolls. Better at non-casting roles than other arcane casters. Uses perception for casting. Their emblem is a child wearing goggles, holding a vial and a quill.


A very flexible arcane caster class that cannot learn spell easily and doesn't get many per level nor has a larger daily allotment than the wizard, but doesn't need to prepare spell slots and is better with both wands and staves. Uses charisma for casting. Their emblem is a child, arms outstretched like wings, flying through the sky.


The mage is a very powerful caster class that learns spells easily, has a good selection and doesn't need to prepare spell slots. Worst proficiencies, vitality and skills of any class, and other than magic has no real class features. They use perception for casting. Their emblem is a child with a looking glass, sitting on the crescent moon.

The next thing you do is place points in your attributes. Your six of your attributes all have a minimum (before modifiers), a maximum (before modifiers) and you can set them to anything between them. When you open this part up, it shows your attributes at their average after the modifiers from your previous selection. The minimum and maximum are listed below for each difficulty, along with the total your attributes can reach. (Before modifiers)

Pitiful: Average 18, minimum 9, maximum 27, total 108
Easy: Average 16, minimum 8, maximum 24, total 96
Normal: Average 14, minimum 7, maximum 21, total 84
Hard: Average 12, minimum 6, maximum 18, total 72
Sadistic: Average 10, minimum 5, maximum 15, total 60

Now assign your skill points. You start with a number of skill points equal to one level of your class, plus your age modifier (if any), plus your perception rank (if any) and your age-dependent starting skill value. Difficulty does not impact this, except in it likely lowering your allotted amount of perception. Your class skills determine how high you can go at any particular level, but do not increase the number of points required to increase them. You may train class skills up to 10+1/2 level, but cross-class skills only up to 5+1/4 level. These are rounded down, so for now 10 and 5. There are 30 skills in the game. (I'll list them later. It's 5:00 and sunday or not I'm exhausted.)

Starting equipment and budget:
You start off choosing equipment for your characters from a shopkeeper screen with a given starting budget dependent on difficulty. Note that nobles start with a 25% greater budget. You cannot keep unspent funds from your budget, so try and spend it all. There's also a limit on equipment starting quality. Note that for craftsmen, these are always 1 higher. These values are for each character, and budget cannot be taken from one and given to another.

Pitiful: 500.00u, +2
Easy: 400.00u, +1
Normal: 300.00u, +0
Hard: 200.00u, -1
Sadistic: 100.00u, -2

Starting money:
Starting money is dependent on difficulty, with no modifier from class. The difference between the difficulties is particularly pronounced here.

Pitiful: 10,000.00u/character
Easy: 1000.00u/character
Normal: 100.00u/character
Hard: 10.00u/character
Sadistic: 1.00u/character

In both budget and starting money, the unit used is called a "uair." It's supposed to represent a single hour of minimum-wage labour, although it was instated over two hundred years ago and inflation did that concept right in. It's roughly equivalent to a single US dollar.

I'm not going to get into the home village right now, I simply do not have the energy, but I'll get to it later in its own special section.

#5078407 Nonnullus Delusion, 2D turn-based RPG concept (I appreciate input)

Posted by JustinS on 17 July 2013 - 04:47 AM

I made a thread a while ago that referred to a game my friend and I are going to be working on, a 32-bit, turn-based RPG based off a tabletop ruleset of my own creation. I'll be going one thing at a time, whenever I have the time. I'll be posting information on the setting, plot, gameplay (I know I talked about this a bit, but I'll be putting more detail into it) player species/age/sex/class, equipment, locations, creatures and characters. Probably not in that order. Today I'll be covering the setting. Feel free to chip in.


This game takes place in a realm called Vanaheimr, one of 13 realms in Ginnungagap. (More information on Ginnungagap, the universe of Change, can be found here: http://rpgforumsonline.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=41678) Specifically, the game takes place in a "Guardian Star," a structure of ten towers in the shape of a five-pointed star that magically support a floating island. The floating island is home to a medium power guardian, a variety of lesser deity that exists to safeguard specific communities. Under the authority of this mid-power guardian are one thousand low-power guardians that span a very large area outside the star, and the roughly one million people in that area. (There are a bit over one hundred in the game.)


The environment is mostly temperate and comprised mostly of rolling hills, forests, mountains and oceans with coastal cities and guardian stars. This specific area is a coastal guardian star, and several of the towers are rising out of the ocean. At the same time, however, the towers on the other side are on mountains. Between these things, both aquatic and mountainous terrain will be present. Technologically, the world is magitek steampunk. The most common native language in Vanaheimr is Vanaic (Gaelic), although it is not the lingua franca due to Vanaheimr's connection with the rest of Ginnungagap. Ginnungagap doesn't have a true lingua franca, but it does have a small set of languages that are used throughout the realms in different purposes. These are Academic (Latin), Divine (German), Political (Russian) or Discursive (Japanese), depending on context. The visual style of the machines varies, but most walkers are spider-like quadrupeds with round bodies. Dirigibles are common, as are airplanes, trains and automobiles, although walkers do serve a purpose.


Guns are very common and are the dominant weapon in the setting, although alchemical powder is universal and enchanted bullets are commonplace enough. Melee is still a valid option, especially since in this setting enchantments require space on an object and a blade has much more room for enchantments than a bullet does. (A blade's excellent starting damage doesn't hurt either.) The setting has undead creatures of two varieties: true undead and walking corpses. Walking corpses are basically automatons make out of corpses and although they may possess some amount of the person's mind they aren't alive, cannot reproduce and are only kept functioning by magic. True undead are essentially living creatures created by magic using a dead person's body (vampires, liches, wraiths) or essentially living creatures created by magic to house a dead person's conciousness. (Spirits.) In both cases, once created these creatures do not rely on magic to live and can continue functioning without magic. They can also reproduce, and are in most senses alive.


As there are twenty playable species and all appear in this region in numbers, specieism is a common issue. It is not, however, the driving force of the story and nor is it portrayed as normal. Instead of humans/elves being bigoted entirely unjustly against everything else with little or no return (white shaming by metaphor) the bigotry in this setting is universal and even. Every species is equally bigoted, with their own little set of other species they hate especially strongly and their own little set of other species they are much more tolerant of. This also isn't universal, and members of one species in one region might hate a totally different set of species than members of the same race in another region. As a general rule, more lawful species are more strongly bigoted, as the default lawful viewpoint is that anything different is wrong.


I'll be covering the basic plot of the game (although not far enough for spoilers) tomorrow.

#5076767 Retro turn-based RPG, good indie idea?

Posted by JustinS on 10 July 2013 - 07:44 PM

I'm not concerned about the children being dead, but why the solider is a child in a box being eaten and the priest/priestess is beating a child. How do these represent the classes? The rod and burning books, I get. The iron hand and the heart-shaped box I get. Why is the lawman/woman beating a child? Are you taking a particular view on each of these? Law keeping individuals down, religion attacking individuals, soldiers just being fed to the dogs?


You missed the metaphor completely. The child IS the person with the class. That is their "self." The priest/priestess isn't beating a child, the priest/priestess is being beaten. Same for the lawman/lawwoman and the soldier. The child represents the "self", so the child being dead means that their "self" has been lost. The circumstances are showing what is responsible and why it is happening.


And the dog eating the child is another metaphor. The self is dead, and its death is strengthening the psychological aspect this dog represents.


And yeah, burning books are a pretty stock metaphor as well, aren't they?

#5076755 Retro turn-based RPG, good indie idea?

Posted by JustinS on 10 July 2013 - 06:58 PM

It's based on the individuals involved. About a minute or so per player is what I'm used to. The long 15 minute turns are when people are controlling several different monsters at once.

I think this thread has been derailed enough, don't you?

On topic:
Nobody presented a single theory on any of the symbols' imagery? That makes me a bit sad.

#5076752 Retro turn-based RPG, good indie idea?

Posted by JustinS on 10 July 2013 - 06:27 PM

Let's ease off the hostility


It's worth noting that I'm returning fire here. Shooting more accurately doesn't change that.


D&D turns can take an hour. When players are slow doing math, or have several things they need to do per turn, it can very well take an hour. I've witnessed it. Usually, though, with those situations it is about 15 minutes.


Funny, considering I've played over 1,000 hours of D&D and never seen a turn take more than ten minutes. Although there have been a few that certainly felt like an hour, I was looking at the clock a lot during those times (as one tends to do when waiting) and it wasn't much longer than a normal turn. Of course, it's entirely possible my group just played fast, because of my thousand hours over eight hundred were with the same five others.

#5076726 Retro turn-based RPG, good indie idea?

Posted by JustinS on 10 July 2013 - 04:37 PM

Jesus, you sure don't know how to have a productive conversation do you? You seem to be more concerned about arguing how right you are about everything, even when you're not -- If production value meant production cost, they would have called it that. You can have high production value on a shoestring budget, or poor production value on a blockbuster budget. There's a sliding relationship, sure -- you might accept a certain standard of work having paid $100 for it, but not accept the same standard having paid $1000 for it -- but monetary input does not have a causal relationship to quality output. Production value is the same as any other value, it means to get the best standard of work you can get, given whatever budget you have.


Anyhow, I'll take my leave of this conversation. No point having a discussion with someone so convinced of their own infallible superiority. Good luck transferring that attitude into the leadership skills that'll be required to make your idea a reality.

Funny how you completely ignore all the times you are blatantly wrong and can't jump to semantics. Like your claim that a single turn of D&D takes an hour, which is complete bullshit and everybody knows it. Or you describing EXACTLY what I'm doing here and saying it's "different from what [I] seem to describe." Or your explanation for my distaste for AAA games being in direct contradiction to my own statements on the matter beforehand. Basically, everything in the entire post.


You shouldn't be trying to correct other people, you should be drooling at the TV and waiting for the next Friedburg and Seltzer movie.

#5076685 Retro turn-based RPG, good indie idea?

Posted by JustinS on 10 July 2013 - 01:49 PM

I can sympathize with the sentiment, but you have to ask yourself why the industry is in decay. Part of the reason D&D and other tabletops have declined in popularity is because other things have come along -- back in the day, if you wanted to play a fantasy-based role-playing game with deep plots, tabletops were your only real option. Today, MMOs like WoW provide those same themes, role-play, similar social interaction, and the accessibility of playing whenever you choose without having to herd 4+ friends together at the same place and time. Modern interactive games also provide more immediate gratification. As a video gamer who recently gave D&D a good shot, one of the things that struck me was the glacial pace with which the game moves -- with 5 other players, a single turn takes an hour, 50 minutes of which I'm essentially idle and disengaged. In an MMO or any other game I'm always actively doing something. All of this is to say nothing of all the other competing styles and genres of games available today, and other kinds of entertainment that have never been more accessible and immediately available.


I'm a veteren of D&D and GURPS. I have NEVER seen a turn take more than ten minutes, even with a dozen people playing. Not a single time. More importantly, there are advantages to actual tabletops that video games can never provide, such as the ability to do anything at any time, even if the creator of the game didn't think about it or write rules for it.



Excluding the turns we decided to take breaks during. Normally, we wait until after combat, but sometimes breaks have to happen suddenly. And even then, you'd have to be counting the break into the duration of the turn, and I personally don't.


Further, WoW is considerably less engaging. As the party tank, you can just push the autoattack button and walk away, and it won't hurt your effectiveness any. The other classes don't take much extra. The game requires barely any input, and it bores the shit out of me. Add on how insanely repetitive it is, the lack of customization and the lack of incomparable removing all options from advancement and it's the sorriest excuse for an RPG I have EVER seen. It makes Skyrim look deep.




I think the more classic experience does still appeal to some people -- the industry may be a smaller part of the overall entertainment pie today, but I'd hazard a guess that its probably as large or larger than its ever been in total numbers today. Large publishers, indeed large companies of any kind, tend to ignore the small slivers, which makes them a sort of "cottage industry" as far as the wider gaming industry is concerned, even though the sliver may be entirely viable in its own right.






What I'm getting at is that you may very well be onto something, but its naive to think that everything is horseshit just because its mainstream -- horseshit doesn't sell like mainstream products do, they may not appeal to you, you may be desperate for something different, but that's clearly not what the mainstream audience wants. Is that lamentable? Probably, on some level. Anyhow, if the impetus behind your business plan is that the mainstream is crap, and there's a conspiracy (or unwillingness) by the mainstream publishers to keep table-top-style games from returning to the mainstream, I think you'll be disappointed with that thesis.


THAT IS NOT WHAT I SAID AT ALL.  I do NOT hate all AAA games for being mainstream. I hate most AAA games for a short list of specific reasons. I hate AAA shooters because there's a whopping three styles: CoD, Halo and GoW, the most popular of these is a completely mindless twitch-fest that requires nothing beyond hands and a dozen or so functioning braincells. The rest would be fine if they weren't being ripped off on a daily basis. (Seriously, people, stop cloning Halo. If people want to play Halo, they'll play Halo, not your clone of it.) I don't really hate AAA RPGs yet, but I am strongly disappointed in the direction they are taking. They are being watered down over and over again, becoming more and more casual with less and less choice and freedom. Give them five years, they'll all look like Fable III and Final Fantasy XIII: straight-ass fucking hallways with no challenge, no choice and no fun. I don't give a shit about racers or social games, so I'll skip them. I haven't played a fighting game since Soul Calibur V, and I haven't played an RTS since Command & Conquer 3, but that's not really out of dislike. The only games I really care about now are RPGs and shooters, and I have very specific reasons why I think the AAA industry is doing a shit job making those.




Personally, though I don't much like tabletop games, I think there's actually a market to be had in creating an online platform for these kinds of games -- that is, one which allows people across large distances to play together without being too difficult to use and to author content and rulesets for. That's of course different than what you seem to describe.


HOW is that different, exactly? Because that appears to be EXACTLY WHAT I JUST DESCRIBED. It's a 2d representation of a tabletop game, with multiplayer. It comes with a modding kit, which allows for custom content and rule adjustments.




But regarding whether you need AAA graphics, real-time 3D, or other chrome, I say no. What you need is art that looks professional for what it is, and which has style. People know production value when they see it, regardless of what form it takes. Its that property of the visuals (and audio) that says to people "this game is worth my time" -- shoddy production values say "not even the author thinks this game is worth his time". Plenty of successful games have "simple" graphics, be they in 2D or 3D, and nearly all of those have obviously high production value. Ultimately it comes down to time and resources, and simpler graphics with higher production value are more appealing than complex graphics with low production value.


Extra credits did an episode on that once, I believe it was called "Graphics vs. Aesthetics." Also, you don't know what "production value" means. "Production value" means "the amount of money put into production." It has nothing to do with quality. At all. What you are thinking of is "aesthetics."

#5076654 Retro turn-based RPG, good indie idea?

Posted by JustinS on 10 July 2013 - 11:05 AM


This is a genre that pretty much doesn't exist anymore, but used to be much bigger.


an important question:




what happened? 


game types that lose popularity usually do so because either:

1. the game type evolves into another more popular game type (2d platform shooters evolved into FPS games)

2. the demographic changed. flight sims are less popular than at first, because at first, only hard core geeks owned PCs, so all titles were designed by and for hard code gaming geeks (like me).  then PCs became more common, enter the "casual gamer", "mass market AAA titles", consoles, Nintendo jump and shoots, Angry Birds, and all that stuff. the market grew, but also changed as to the demographics makeup, and what types of games would sell the most. its the same old story of broadening appeal means reducing to the lowest common denominator (usually sex and violence). "mass market crap for the mindless masses" as they say.


if it turns out that something like "Skyrim" vs "Fallout" is considered "the way" to do an RPG these days, then you may have a problem.

This genre was killed by our industry's decay. Most gamers are "casual" gamers who only want mindless killing frenzies like Call of Duty, and even with RPGs, "casual" gamers want simplistic rulesets they don't have to think about and are more concerned with aesthetics than gameplay. The industry as a whole is mostly concerned with pumping out smut that serves no purpose but to pump out as much violence for as little thought as possible, and even the makers of RPGs (which, you must remember, are a very small minority) are giving in to it by building games more and more for consoles while giving PC less and less support, and making their games simpler with each iteration at the expense of customization. Hence watered-down RPGs like Skyrim, which reek of consolitis, dominating the market. Even visually, this decay is evident. Games get higher and higher resolution, but they always end up looking worse as a result as next-gen graphics are dark, lack in colour and are completely bereft of any of the visual distinctiveness that the previous generations used to have. The music in games is getting less and less distinctive and memorable, and we end up with things like the soundtrack of Final Fantasy XII, where not a single song in the entire game could be recalled even one minute after they stopped playing. Everything in games is getting mushed together and everything that could make a game unique is being cut out, even though the few unique games that come out usually do fairly well, as game companies are being run by executives that don't know what a game is or how it is supposed to work, and are making idiot decisions based on market trends rather than any actual understanding of their consumers.


No marketing executive is going to recommend making a game in 2d, because 3d sells better. No marketing executive is going to recommend turn-based games, because real time sells better. No marketing executive is going to recommend quality, spirit, soul or originality, because cheap, uninspired, soulless knockoffs sell better. Our industry has too many marketing executives, and those marketing executives have too much power. And I realise I could put all that in a memo and entitle it "Shit, we already know."


I hate the way the market is going. I will have nothing to do with it. I want to make GOOD games for REAL gamers. Hardcore games that are unique, interesting and in now way cater to the brainless morons we call "the casual demographic." I have no interest in making a watered down RPG like Skyrim, I especially do not intend to make a mindless, repetitive twitch-fest like Call of Duty, and I don't give a flying fuck WHAT the market says. Even if I had the resources for a 3d, realtime, shooter-style RPG, I'd take the time to make sure it was unique and I would base all decisions on the game's quality, not profitability. That is who I am, and damned if I will ever let anything change that.



and now a word of advise from a table top gamer:


i started on classic D&D ruleset in 1977, 4 years before the invention of the PC. I ran a campaign on and off for about 5-6 years. the first game i ever wrote for the PC was a text based RPG written in 1982 on a Sperry Rand PC (8088 chip) with dual 360K floppy drives,and an EGA card (a nice PC for the time). the OS was MS-DOS 2.01 or 2.11. 


if i'm turning to the PC for a good RPG experience, things like 3d, and real time are definite pluses. all other things being equal, i'd choose 3d and realtime every time.


I simply do not have the resources for a 3d, real time game. I'm making the best of what I've got as it is. I know what I would do with sufficient resources, and it's entirely different. (Still nothing like that mass-market AAA horseshit.) Here, have a link, I've already gone into it.





only if i was looking to control a large party rather than concentrate on the members of a small one would i consider 2d turn based, as there would be command and control issues for a large party in realtime.


you may find the the minimum standard for the game type you want to make has been raised. it may have been 2d turn based and evolved into 3d realtime.


This game *does* allow for a large party. The party can go all the way up to 32, even if only 16 are controlled by the player directly. That is WAY too many for real-time, but still a manageable number for turn-based gameplay. And I will reiterate my main point one more time: I am out to make a good game before anything else, profit isn't even my secondary concern. As long as the game makes more money than we spent on it, it's enough to make another. I would *like* to make more money, but I am putting the game first. I just want to make games, and I want to make them my way. Money is the means, NOT the end.



If I seem angry, that's because I am.