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bishop_pass

The Western: FPS? RPG? RTS?

107 posts in this topic

From the high plains of Wyoming to the Rio Grande of Texas and further out west to the mining towns of the Sierra Nevada... This genre isn''t exploited to its potential. No doubt some will claim that it doesn''t lend itself to play like a fantasy or sci-fi epic might, but that just isn''t true. The Western contains many of the classical elements any game could hope for. Indian culture alone provides many fascinating analogues to fantasies, including cultural conflict, rituals, nomadic lifestyles, medicine men, war, foreign customs... Weapons include pistols, rifles, shotguns, the bow and arrow, knives, swords, gatling guns, cannons, dynamite... Places and locales include mining towns, saloons, bars, jails, the gallows, mainstreet, alleyways, goldmines, gulches, canyons, caves, railway stations, railway passenger cars, cantinas, haciendas, watering holes, wells... Activities include gambling, gunfighting, barroom brawls, knife fights, hangings, arson, carriage driving, horse riding, claim jumping, bounty hunting, lying, cheating, investigating, sneaking, business building, ... Transportation includes walking, riding, carriage driving, railway, mule train...
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If this thread is about the Western genre (like those movies with Clint Eastwood)in games, then that''s what I''d like to see:

- FPS? I hate FPSs! I believe FPSs are done by those who can''t create a good-looking hero. My vote for third-person 3D adventuring (RPG elements welcome).

- Improved horse factor. I so much pitied that all these ''Yiee-haw'' parts in the Outlaws were non-interactive. Also, I want the player to really feel that bond with his animal. To rely on it, and also to be in charge of it. I want the player to pity the loss of his horse.

- Context-sensitive soundtrack. Like the Outlaws, but corresponding to what''s happening.

- Trenchcoat waving in the wind.

- Shooting from two revolvers simultaneously. Realistic reloads taking time (see Outlaws again).

+ everything bishop_pass said.
Now will somebody please make my dream come true?
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quote:
Original post by Chentzilla
- Improved horse factor. I so much pitied that all these ''Yiee-haw'' parts in the Outlaws were non-interactive. Also, I want the player to really feel that bond with his animal. To rely on it, and also to be in charge of it. I want the player to pity the loss of his horse.

Excellent! Develop a true communion between man and horse based on trust. The horse is a powerful, graceful and fast animal, but a relationship is necessary between man and animal before the full potential is realized.

And don''t forget, horse thieves are hung!

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Lol, and to think that I thought of that idea this summer. There are many different weapons you could choose from too since most of them were hand made. I think that you could make a FPS that can change views to 3PS. You could make it like an RPG/FPS with 3PS option. I''ve got a storyline for such a game that I''ve been toying with for about a month now. You start out as an Undercover US Marshal on the trail of a notorius gang know as the Rustlers. Your first contact to finding the gang is the local banker at Dry Gultch...
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If it''s going to be based around a single character, then I agree with the third-person action/adventure with RPG elements. I also think that the game should start when the character is very young, like Nevada Smith. Make him 17 or so, with good physical fitness, but little to no weaponcraft outside of hunting. Let the skills develop with real-time practice, like shooting cacti from horseback as you go from town to town.

Also, if it''s going to be a Western, there has to be the possibility of dying in the desert. You''ve gotta carry water, or find it, if you want to live out there. Not just you, but your horse as well.

Include a variety of factions, like lawmen, who are sparsely distributed but well-trained and like-minded, and cattle rustlers, who stick together but are essentially boobs.

Actually, this game might be best if it''s modelled on something like Grand Theft Auto III. A total moral vaccuum, in which you can join the US Marshalls or rob trains or assassinate Mexican politicians for a living. Apart from survival, all your goals would be self-set. you could get rich or live in a cave. It would be neat to see your face on a wanted poster, and watch your bounty rise, or else track down men with bounties on their heads and turn them in to the local law. Total freedom would really capture the lawless nature of the romantic fiction that is the Wild West.
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You know Iron Chef, you have a good point. Of course this game you're talking about sounds like it would work better with the Morrowwind setup with a few modifications.

You have stats on your rifles, pistols, lassos, and dynamite sticks. You have customizable starting stats with customizable character look. You could be with the Wild Bill Circus and travel with them for crying out loud!

Imagine seeing people dueling in the streets at noon or seeing old drunks clamering out of the saloon. Some of them just pass out in the street and others trip, fall onto a trauf, and vomit realy loud while their friends laugh at them.

You could win blackjack with the wrong person and then it could start a saloon brawl. Indians could stampede through the town off to war with the US soldiers that have been driving them back off their land. You could shoot a soldier because you think what their doing is wrong and then have a bounty on your head.

You could also join ranks with local gangs and work up a reputation that earns you xp. Anything could happen. You rob the bank and then gain more xp. Your class could change based on reputation. In fact, you might not even need a class system.

[edited by - smiley4 on December 9, 2002 4:04:28 PM]
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In addition to all the stuff I said...

Bank robberies, gangs, wanted posters, hidden Spanish treasure, banditos, land grabs, drunks, the livery stable, grudges, stampedes, buffalo, tack & saddlery, mules, hogs, hats...

The sheriff makes the law in the town. Different towns have different laws. Some towns require you to check in your arms upon entry.

And the towns have such great names. Names like: Whiskey, Tombstone, Silverado, Purgatory, Bodie, Cerro Gordo...
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Well, that would be a terrifically immersive world, and would be very conducive to character development. The only real obstacle to a good Wild West RPG is that death comes so easily there. If it''s to be one-player, you can just make the player character damn near invincible, like in GTA III, where you can absorb pound after pound of lead and then bring down the baddies with a few shots. For a MMORPG version, you''d have to make it very, very easy to create a character, since the more ambitious players will get blasted fairly regularly. Heck, I know people who play P&P RPGs with strict death rules, and they sometimes go through three or four characters in a single sitting. Just come back as their own son, and power on through.
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quote:
Original post by bishop_pass
From the high plains of Wyoming to the Rio Grande of Texas and further out west to the mining towns of the Sierra Nevada...

This genre isn''t exploited to its potential. No doubt some will claim that it doesn''t lend itself to play like a fantasy or sci-fi epic might, but that just isn''t true. The Western contains many of the classical elements any game could hope for.


Could not agree more. I have never understood why there are so few computer games for westerns and superheroes. These are some of the richest genres in pop culture, yet we can easily count the number of western games on one hand.

I suspect the reason for this is that these genres really lend themselves to a CRPG, and CRPGs are simply not popular with publishers. They take a lot of resources, and are notoriously difficult to test. When you add any deviation from the standard Tolkien ripoff world, the publishers panic.

Anyway, I''d vote for a (what else?) CRPG. If I never play an RTS again, that''d be fine with me. I loved Outlaws, so I would give an FPS a chance, but I really doubt I''d stick to it.
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I regard "western" as a setting, as much as "tolkeinesque fantasy" "cyberpunk scifi" "modern urban" etc. While it''s possible that some settings may be better suited to certain genres of gameplay than others, in general, you can make just about any type of game in just about any setting. After all, I''ve seen pinball tables with a Wild West theme...
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I think my very first post on this forum was about why no one had created FPS games in a historical setting before WWII and one of my examples was the western theme. I''d love to be able to play a Kit Carson scout, or one of the Nez Perce indians fighting off the 7th cavalry. Imagine re-enacting Wounded Knee. The historical aspect would easily lend itself to the more warlike genres of FPS and RTS.

As far as the western theme (not war) it provides a very open playing field since things were so chaotic then. I think that would make it an excellent candidate for a RPG style game as well. I remember playing an old PPRPG back in the day called Boot Hill (published by TSR) that was really fun. You could be whatever you wanted...an outlaw, a sheriff a pioneer, a prospector, and indian...whatever floated your boat.

All in all, it is a very neglected genre especially considering how popular it is the mainstream (or at least how popular it used to be).
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One thing I see potential for is the idea of perception. The West was no exception when it came to the concept of fops, liars, pretenders, and outlandish individuals.

Simply based on outward appearances, a character can create a different effect. Where today, what papers you carry and what is on record play a major role, the opposite was true for the Wild West. Who you were could very well be who you could pass yourself off to be.

Different reactions could be elicited just on how you dress and of course, how you react. In short, your outwardly apparent character. Consider the fellow who sports an ivory handled pistol, wears a fancy vest, and carries himself with a certain repectability. Or how about some fop who wears a silly tophat, a gawdy pocketwatch, and an illfitting coat.
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On the the note of getting killed with gun fights, you could rip off a piece of metal that you find near the railroad tracks, or you should only pick fights with less experienced outlaws, deputies, sherrifs, ect. With each fight you get a little more experienced on how to handle certian fighters. You could build up your shooting skill by entering tournements. You could win money that way to buy better ranged and quick draw weapons. Heck, you could also enter bull-riding tournements to build up your reputation with the townsfolk. If your a hero, then killing one person could be got away with. The people trust your reasoning behind your murder and call it an act of justice. You could win faction with different tribes of Indians and even have a sidekick if your lucky -- like the Lone Ranger.
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I think the most important thing for a game like this to have is opportunities to do all of the things that Western heroes do in the movies. Your character must be able to: quick draw, jump from a rooftop to the back of a waiting horse, cheat at cards, brawl in saloons, drink a whole lot, smoke more than he should, die in the desert, ride a horse, patronize prostitutes, be featured on a wanted poster, uphold the law, be hanged from a tree, hang others from trees, rustle cattle, fight indians, befriend indians, hunt wild game, buy supplies, sell scalps, shoot guns, throw knives, lasso cows, tip his hat, bathe in mountain pools, etc, etc, etc.

It''s not the stories that make the West interesting, it''s the blank slate, geographically, legally, ethically and professionally devoid of structure. A world in which a person can become something wholly new, without being bound by convention or law. It''s the perfect opportunity for "civilized" people who have seen and studied the nature of humans to see how they would have fared at the dawn of civilization. If a bunch of modern-day people found themselves in a new, uninhabited world, what sort of society would they form? The Wild West. It''s the true Renaissance.
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By the way, some good relatively recent Western movies are: (modern production values)
  • Tombstone - Kurt Russell
  • Silverado - Scott Glenn, Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, Kevin Costner
  • Unforgiven - Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freman, Gene Hackman
  • Bad Girls - Madeline Stowe
  • Jeremiah Johnson - Robert Redford
  • Maverick - Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner
  • The Last of the Mohicans
  • Quigley Down Under - Tom Selleck
  • American Outlaws
  • Dances with Wolves - Kevin Costner
  • The Quick and the Dead - Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman
  • The Jack Bull - John Cusack
  • The Sacketts - Sam Elliot, Tom Selleck (little bit old)
  • The Desperate Trail - Sam Elliot, Linda Fiorentino
  • Lonesome Dove - Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover
  • The Man From Snowey River - Kirk Douglas


[edited by - bishop_pass on December 15, 2002 5:46:13 AM]
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You know, to add a little element of excitement that is seldom used in westerns, we could add a Kung Fu fighter in the mix. After all, in the real West some of the Chineese were fleeing their home country just to start a living. I know some of you may just think that Shanghigh Noon was just a fad, but it was still a very possable reality. I think that good faction may be exclusive to only a few though since the Chineese were treated like crap in those days.
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Also, to make this game a little more emmersive, you would need dialog that matches the dialect of the time period and of each personality/class type. Imagine talking to an Indian brave that speaks only fragments of English as opposed to an Indian Chief who knows the language of his enemy. Lets also say you were conversing with an evil upper-class governer as opposed to a good-hearted governer.

I think that a game like this would really require more plot and gameplay than eyecandy though. Because if you think about it, a western would require a map of the whole world to get all the big cities and other stuff that makes an RPG what it is. Unless this is an alternate Earth that were talking about, the map for the west alone wouldn't work. You would have to recreate the world as it was in the late 1800's. I think that to have a western as a game, you need a linear storyline or an alternate-Earth map.

Yet, then again, why not base the game on the future where civilization has diminished to a pesudo-version of the old west? You know, the usual all the world washed away and all that was left was this large chunk of land in the Pacific.

[edited by - smiley4 on December 11, 2002 9:46:43 AM]
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quote:
Original post by smiley4
I think that a game like this would really require more plot and gameplay than eyecandy though. Because if you think about it, a western would require a map of the whole world to get all the big cities and other stuff that makes an RPG what it is. Unless this is an alternate Earth that were talking about, the map for the west alone wouldn''t work. You would have to recreate the world as it was in the late 1800''s. I think that to have a western as a game, you need a linear storyline or an alternate-Earth map.

You don''t need half the continent of North America to make it work. Different packages are set in different areas:
  • The Tombstone package is set in the Sonoran desert and the maountains of southeast Arizona.
  • The Mule Train package is set in Inyo County revolving around the small mining towns of the area in the Inyo Mountains and throughout Death Valley; towns like Cerro Gordo, Rhyolite, and so on.
  • The High Plains package has as its setting Wyoming.
  • The Sandstone package revolves around the canyons and cliffs of the Colorado Plateau in Southern Utah.
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I'm just saying that in games like Everquest, Morrowind, AC, and Anarchy Online the appeal was that you could go anywhere and do anything. Thus, in all these games they had a land that was centered around an island or group of islands. The Old West, on the other hand, was located on an AREA of the contienant not a COMPLETE one.

If you have a linear-story format for the game (like in Deus Ex), or only have it based around a few famous towns (with a linking map view that uncovers where you need to go like in Persona 2 only without the turn-based stratagy), then it is understandable to the player if you can't go to a shoreline.

If you go with the alternate Earth scene, where the technology is like that of the Old West, and the names of characters and towns are based on famous western movies you can give the game more emmersiveness like in the style of a MMORPG. I'm not saying that you still can't make a good game if you don't build a whole world setting. I'm just saying that if you only base it around a few famous movies, you have to change your story tactics to include them all.

[edited by - smiley4 on December 11, 2002 3:07:19 PM]

[edited by - smiley4 on December 11, 2002 3:19:05 PM]
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Hi There!

The western era is perfect for adventure games as I have been scteching on a Lucasrt style cartoon Adventure game taking place in the classic West, actually you travel all across America in the search for your gal. The name is Wilde in the west and it would make an exellent game...

Here I am, on the road again
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Set places outside the map that can''t be reached, one way or another. Sure, you can get on your horse and try to cross the Mexican border, but you will be prevented one way or another.

You can''t go too far South, because once you''re about fifty miles into Mexico, you stumble onto a big chunk of Santa Anna''s army and they perforate you for seeing their secret troop movements. Too far north, you "accidentally" walk into some kind of Cherokee holy place, and they ask you to go back. If you refuse, they respond by chopping you to bits. The mountains have strange weather systems that always seem to point unsurvivable storms at players who try to cross them, forcing you to go back down.

Ever see "The Truman Show"? Remember when he tried to get out, but all sorts of increasingly weird things happened to prevent him? That could happen in the game. Make it clear that if they don''t stay in the areas defined (which would of course be massive and dynamic) then they''re going to run afoul of the higher authority who keeps order.

GTA III just had rigid boundaries that you couldn''t cross, usually represented by some half-assed geographical boundary. It was hokey, but nobody really complained, since what you did have access to was so cool.
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Set places outside the map that can't be reached, one way or another. Sure, you can get on your horse and try to cross the Mexican border, but you will be prevented one way or another.

You can't go too far South, because once you're about fifty miles into Mexico, you stumble onto a big chunk of Santa Anna's army and they perforate you for seeing their secret troop movements. Too far north, you "accidentally" walk into some kind of Cherokee holy place, and they ask you to go back. If you refuse, they respond by chopping you to bits. The mountains have strange weather systems that always seem to point unsurvivable storms at players who try to cross them, forcing you to go back down.

You know, Chef, once again you make a valid point. Plus, if you do this, there is always room for an expansion. Say in the expansion, you can go to the East and go up to old New York or run smack-dab into the Civil War!

Then again, someone could always remake The Oregon Trail that we used to play on those old Apple IIs into a 3d adventure.

[edited by - smiley4 on December 11, 2002 3:31:42 PM]

[edited by - smiley4 on December 11, 2002 3:54:10 PM]
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I''d like to say that I''m realy excited about starting a project like this based on this theme. And I take all you guys input into concideration. As for my experience making games, I have little, but by playing games I think I can learn a lot about what content I''d like to see based on the content of game history. I believe that I can take my professional art skills and put them to work on the concept art for such a game. If anyone is willing to join me in taking this idea further (instead of just talking about it), just say the word. I''ll be watching the forums.
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I came up with this half-assed idea last year. It still has no real direction and it isn''t fleshed out at all, but I just thought the coincidence was amusing. It''s a sort of a hobby of mine to write these one page synopsis when I think of game elements, I have tons of them. I see a lot of good ideas in this post.

Project: Gunslinger

Character Selection/Creation:
Designed like a standard RPG, the character selection screen will allow a player to select male or female, hair color and style, face, facial hair, physique, clothing style and color. Players will start the game with a standard “kit” consisting of a single handgun, some bullets, a knife, and some money.
Further customization is allowed throughout the game, since a player will be allowed to buy clothing, weapons, items, a horse, and possibly a room or even a house for storage.


Gameplay:
Most easily described as an open-ended action RPG, the player will be given the freedom to interact with various NPCs in the towns and gain quests from them. There will be a primary plot and story that exists and the player will be able to “end” the game, so some of the quests will be related to the main quest, but some might not be related at all.
The game is primarily driven by combat. Most quests will revolve around possible combat of some sort, like jailbreak, robbery, assassination, etc. The viewpoint will be 3rd person, and the player will have a crosshair to shoot and aim weapons in real-time.
The RPG elements are present in the player’s ability to customize character appearance, buy upgraded weapons, ammo, and items from doing quests, as well as a faction system being in place to track a player’s actions so the world will respond to them.


Location:
Consists of one huge map, with unique locations scattered throughout. Besides several towns of varying sizes, unique locations may include abandoned buildings, mines, farms, ranches, train station/railroad etc. There will be roads connecting all the major points.
The setting will also be persistent, with day/night cycles and various weather effects. There should also be travelers going from town-to-town occasionally, people walking about, children playing, dogs barking, bar fights breaking out, etc. basically anything that could be scripted at certain times to give the town a lively feel.
The benefits of the setting are realized by not having to recreate heavy vegetation and a huge cluster of modern buildings. The Torque engine is better suited to mainly outdoor, sparse environments. Generally, the art assets will be part of one main set and can be re-used again and again. More concentration and resources can be directed towards better textures, detail such as swaying prairie grass, rolling tumbleweeds, dust clouds, weather, etc.


Quests:
Instead of directing a huge chunk of development time and resource to level design, it will instead be aimed at creating quests of varying length, difficulty, reward, and the accompanying scripted sequences to compliment them. The assets for each quest should be designed so that most are not “spawned” into the world until the quest is accepted by the player. They will subsequently be “de-spawned” when done.
Quests will have to be accepted by the player to be activated, and it is then placed in their “quest journal” to keep track of vital details like names, locations, and times. Some quests will be based on time, meaning they either will not start or be available until a certain time or will be on a time limit. Almost all quests will garner a reward of some type, be it money, an item that can be pawned for money, useful unique items, or valuable information.




Faction:
Completing certain quests will have the important result of modifying the world’s perception of the player. If a player decides to play the outlaw and accept bank robbery and assassination quests, the townspeople will be increasingly wary of the player, sometimes retreating in fear when they see him or withholding information and/or quests from her. By the same token, the player may decide to take the path of justice and collect on wanted posters, defend the town from certain attacks, or bring lawbreakers to jail, eventually gaining the respect and admiration from everyone in town. Who knows, maybe even a sheriff’s job would be possible.


Weapons:
A wide variety of weapons from the era will be available at the local pawn/gun shop. Some weapons and items will only be available in certain towns. Ammunition is a depletable source, and will have to be bought and replenished (money sink). The player will be limited in how many weapons he can carry, generally to two handguns, a knife of some sort, and one rifle. More items and weapons can be kept on the player’s horse if she owns one, or in their storage space (rented room, house, or bank).


Mini-games:
If time allows, mini-games such as poker and blackjack will be set up in the town’s local brothel or bar to create a diversion for the player and an alternate way to make money.
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