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Member Since 26 Jun 2000
Offline Last Active Mar 23 2014 11:49 PM

#4826940 Alternate Reasons To Level

Posted by Wavinator on 23 June 2011 - 01:05 PM

Adventure = Story Elements/Game Mechanics that force you to learn about something

Explore = Once you have been introduced to this new something you use it some way... such as a new area. Once you know it's there you then look around it for new quests, gear, mobs, ways to kill those mobs, glitches, and just cuz it's pretty and you want to see what it all looks like so you can improve your character

Improve Character = Once you have done looking for and doing all that stuff you either use it or don't, but generally you are done with it and to access the next cycle you have to make some sort of character growth due to gating or because the next cycle is just that much harder and once you do... you go on your next adventure...

Basically this is the overarching cycle of just about every game out there... your cycle is more of what i would consider the "improve character" phase and doesn't encapsulate the full experience of games.

I separate story because while I think there are players who consistently play just for the story I don't believe that that's the central reason why people play RPGs, especially if you consider MMOs. If story was the core reason, this audience would be playing lots of different games which have great stories, not caring if they're RPGs or not. (This isn't entirely true as there are crossover players, obviously, who WILL play lots of other related genres, such as Adventure games, and skill may be a barrier to playing some games with great stories for some RPG players.)

Learning is important, but I wouldn't define it as core gameplay, rather a byproduct of it. I think also that exploration itself isn't self-justifying in a traditional RPG unless the game rewards you SPECIFICALLY for exploration in a manner that would rival combat. The same is true for questing. WHY do you quest? What gameplay does questing lead to?

It's important to understand that I'm not so much trying to encapsulate the full experience of an RPG. I'm trying to drill down to the core loop which drives it and ask what other loops would substitute, what activities they'd be made of and why they'd work.

#4826937 Alternate Reasons To Level

Posted by Wavinator on 23 June 2011 - 12:56 PM

To better understand what I'm talking about here you have to ask yourself WHY you would do any activity in an RPG. This is important because RPGs are frequently filled with aimless stats, skills and activities which lead nowhere and thus feel tacked on. Players will find themselves asking, "Why am I doing this?" Even if the activity is fun, if it is ultimately pointless it will be less enduring and will wear out faster than the core activities of the game. This will make it feel even MORE tacked on.

Consider, for instance, a case where you decide to add fishing to your RPG so you can feed yourself or NPCs. If fishing doesn't somehow contribute to the core loop you'll be left with a side activity that ends up meaningless. To endure throughout the game, fishing would, assuming the typical fight-loot-level, have to somehow contribute in a meaningful way to one or more of the legs of that cycle.

#4822650 Solutions To Weapon Inflation

Posted by Wavinator on 13 June 2011 - 02:21 AM

I really like the idea of procedurally generated gear as found in games like Diablo or Borderlands but I don't like that, typically, the only recourse you have for lower tier / less useful items is to sell them. What other things could you do with them and how would the gameplay work to support this?

A couple of thoughts:

* Convert them to buffs for current weapons: Let's say that you find yet another flame sword or shock shotgun long after you've stopped using weapons of this type. What if you could somehow convert them to increase the weapon you're currently favoring? The way I'd do this would be to allow you to improve the gear within limits based on the its quality and the quality of the item that you're trying to add. I'd also make it a gamble in that the more improved your weapon the greater the chance that the buff could backfire, damaging the stats of what you're trying to improve.

* Add them to a virtual armory for a faction: The better the gear you bring in, the better ally NPCs walk around with?

Any others?

#4820761 Names for Certain Gaming Concepts

Posted by Wavinator on 07 June 2011 - 07:14 PM

You might find this link useful from an article written many years ago. It talks about the need for a common language similar to what the movie industry has.

#4810056 4x population mechanic - worker experience.

Posted by Wavinator on 12 May 2011 - 08:50 PM

I don't see an upfront problem if you are aiming at folks who like micromanagent. If you think it would be fun up to 10 planets, why not consider a mechanism where you can only have N territories and in order to grow must aggregate what you have? So past 10 planets, you form a state/region/sector, then you treat them similar to planets. Territory might then scale well as you aggregate territories into larger territories.

#4796555 RPG/Simulation game idea ("Life Expected")

Posted by Wavinator on 09 April 2011 - 07:32 PM

Hey Anna. Welcome to gamedev!

I've been plagued by / toiling on a similar idea, tho' in a retro single player science fiction context. Some issues I've come across or run aground on that you may find useful:

An RPG / life sims are nebulous because the subject matter (life) is wide open. You've got the big picture and may already have the details worked out but if not I think it's important to nail down the goal and main gameplay loop. RPGs at their core seem to be a cycle of challenge-reward-progression-repeat (or at worst kill-loot-level-repeat). Life sims have a similar cycle in terms of winning interactions in order to gain resources which in turn open new interactions, usually within a timeframe.

In terms of goals I see that you have one pertaining to living life to the fullest it would be far stronger if it were more concrete. Try putting it in game terms. For instance, "Each player has a hidden game goal called their Destiny. Players use their skills, abilities and encounters with one another to determine what this Destiny is and how to fulfill it, all within a limited time. At the end of their time (life) players are scored based on how close they came to fulfilling this Destiny. Players receive different game endings (Epitaphs) based on this score."

This is the nuts and bolts of the main gameplay loop itself. Most RPGs are sustained by monster murder, often because its easy to vary and provide increasingly difficult challenges. For a life sim this may not make as much sense (at least not conventionally). If you stray from this formula, though, you'll have to provide an activity that's as viable.

I'd like to add a few more observations but I'm pressed for time at the moment. I'll try to reply again a bit later. For more inspiration if you haven't done so already I'd maybe check out games from the Princess Maker and Cute Knight series as well as Spirited Heart and Kudos 1 & 2.

#4779222 I've built a world generator, what now?

Posted by Wavinator on 25 February 2011 - 11:06 PM

Cool. I understand the delimma as I sort of got myself into the same problem of generating bottom up and then scratching my head at how to make gameplay of the result.

A couple of ideas that might work well with a random map:

Scavenger hunt:
* You have to travel to different points and gather clues
* Clues are partly drawn from the procedural data on the map (an east-west river near three mountains is noted, for instance)
* Player is scored by how fast they can find the target

* Terrain yeilds resources needed for survival
* Fighting enemies costs resources
* Player is scored on how long they can survive

Rogue-like: Check out a game called Prospector, a space-based rogue-like which uses random planets. It mixes the two ideas above to good effect.