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Let's make a Survival RPG

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[background=transparent]So I'm coding a survival rpg (uh, seriously? pretty original...). Well, at the beginning I didn't know of the survival element, only pretty focused on the rpg thing. But then I started to think to the story (I always need one), and it comes out a plot with you being tossed in this island, sentenced to exile for a crime you did not commit. Ok, but why an exile and not a simple death sentence? Because you are not a simple man. You are the prince, denounced by another (evil) member of the royal family. For jealousy, maybe (Moorcock?). So, you are a prince, and therefore you received a good education, can use a sword and so on. Maybe magical powers too. But you have none. No weapons, no food, no water, no dresses. The exile sentence is a royal-member-acceptable death sentence. By starvation... whence the survival element. I think that in the later game you will left the island to take your revenge, but that's completely another story.[/background]

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[background=transparent]I (as you, I suppose) started and never finished a lot of projects. This is not the point, because every time I learned something new and improved my skills as a developer. Probabily this will never be a complete game too, I'm ok with that. I only want to try, and put things in order to go as far as I can.[/background]

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[background=transparent]With this in mind, I produced a very simple design document, a thing I always do. Usually I start a new google doc, put everything comes to my mind on the sheet (like a brainstorm) and end with a checklist of features and rules. Then, I procede defining (and hopefully making) small prototypes, adding a couple of major features at time.[/background]

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[background=transparent]The first prototype, named A (I'm original, just said...), will include:[/background]

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  • [background=transparent]map exploration (island surface, no caves)[/background]


  • first bunch of life stats (hunger, thirst, stamina, the kind of survival things) that decrease according to the type of terrain I'm moving on
  • death and game over

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    [background=transparent]I'm close to finish this first prototype, and here's a screenshot in its full programmer art glory:[/background]

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    [background=transparent]Surv_PA01.png[/background]

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    [background=transparent]I'm using SFML (C++) and Tiled for the maps. Graphical-roguelike visual style, turn based. Long life to RPGs![/background]

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Unfinished projects are totally fine, but if you tend to abandon your projects a lot, maybe you need to make them smaller in scope. A finished simple game is better than an unfinished complex one, IMO.

 

Anyways, thumbs up for SFML. I've been using it for almost four years and I'm still loving it.

 

Good luck with the game!

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You're right, and actually a did (and finished) some short games in the past (none of them was a rpg, since I can't think to a "small in scope" rpg). But sometimes one only wants to experiment with a genre, problem is I always fall into rpgs... One day I will finish one, maybe.

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There's something to be said for RPGs with ugly graphics, more symbolic than representational. Not like Spiderweb games, those are too good, there's too much temptation to improve them, and they take too much time away from gameplay development. I'm not saying it should be painful to look at, just to find an aesthetic other than realism.

 

I really like the idea of a small RPG. There's an expectation that RPGs must have sprawling game worlds, superficial characters, endless combat/looting/leveling, and you'll play months, start over, get bored, and quit. There aren't enough RPGs that you can finish in a few hours, replay 5 or 10 times, and get different outcomes each time. Desert island is a good start...

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I would like to see more small RPGs too. I'm a fan of completeness, I like to finish games but I'm also a father and have not so many time (often no time at all, actually). Glad to see I'm not alone. At the same time I'm not a casual gamer... don't like the word. Games are a serious thing, because they consume your time, and time is the most serious thing you have! I choose them carefully, and play with emotional transportation, or not play at all. Today small games are confused with casual games, but I disagree.

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Maybe you could add art from Battle for Wesnoth. It is fantasy themed, free and it would improve the game a lot and developing would be more fun too.

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