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evil genuises wanted

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I was thinking how in a lot of games, you''re trying to defeat a bad guy and spend the entire game going place to place undoing his damage and fighting his cronies, well, wouldn''t it be cool if we let actual players be the bad guys(who eventually becomes a god bent on destroying the world) while some other players are the good guys(from a village destroyed in the opening sequence). This could apply to just about any genre really but if you really want a non-linear non-scripted plot I think this would do it(of course if I play the bad guy I''d do every cliche thing I could think of).

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The general idea of playing the bad guy has been done before, the most obvious that comes to mind is Dungeon Keeper (probably lots of others, but they used the "bad is good!" slogan). Also choosing between bad and good is in a lot of RTS games in particular (Warcraft II for example). I guess you can also say that Counterstrike allows you to fight other players each choosing to be bad or good (although I doubt its often a consideration).

Where your coming from though, I believe, is a concept I''ve been giving a fair bit of thought to myself lately, and thats playing the bad guy in an RPG. In particular as I''ve just started playing NeverWinter Nights it occured to me that in all the D&D style games (NWN, BG I&II, Icewind Dale, etc) you can choose an evil alignment, however your overall goal is basically good (stop the bad guy(s)). Wouldn''t it be cool to have an rpg where you are the bad guy trying to achieve evil ends!

The thing thats got me thinking a lot though, is exactly what would the goal of the game be? As the good guy you run around all game dealing with the plots and minions of the evil overlord, perhaps dealing with him at the very end of the game. You could turn it around like you say, and end up as an evil god trying to destroy the world, but how do you play that? Evil gods don''t walk from tavern to dungeon killing the peaceful creatures by the road in order to destroy the holy paladin at the bottom of the dungeon, they send minions to do it (along the lines of Dungeon Keeper now I think of it). What I envisioned though was a more standard adventure where you walk the world, dealing with obstacles and achieving a main goal. So how do you do that?

Bear in mind that standard philosophy makes being evil really hard. Shopkeepers bar their doors, barkeeps wont talk to you, pretty much everyone else attacks on sight. Sure you could be superstrong and able to defeat all, but thats more a hack and slash Diablo style solution than an RPG solution.

Do you just invert the character types? An evil land is being overrun by soldiers of good and your quest is to battle the forces of good before finally confronting the architech of all this goodness and destroying them to return evil to the land? Maybe the general populace prefers evil as a way of life so help you out? Could be fun, but all in all is it too similar to playing the good guy?

Perhaps you want to rise to supremacy of a criminal organisation. Head of the thieves guild perhaps? You need to present a good and lawful public face, but behind the scenes your using murder and blackmail to achieve your ends? I kind of like this idea, you start small and build up. Maybe by the end your ordering minions to do tasks and things, but still have a very hands on approach and avoid the godlike RTS problems.

The other idea was to add a twist to the standard "good" rpg. Say for instance your quest is still to defeat the evil overlord, but unbeknownst to those who have hired you, you intend to supplant them rather than turn control back to the forces of good. Perhaps blackmail for profit? For instance (since its what I''m playing at the moment) you agree to find the cure for the plague decimating Neverwinter, but only if they agree to grant you lordship over the land if successful. You have people resentful of you using their problems to profit like this, but by the same token they need to help you so that the cure can be found.

Any other thoughts on how you can setup an RPG to actually RP an evil character?

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You wond''t need to be at the top of the evil food chain. You could be one of the minions setting up part of the evil plot so your god can take over the world. i.e. after days of fasting and praying you are instructed to get the amulet of power from the stronghold of good.

Quite a few books I have read have both good and evil looking for the same components, evil to use the items to destroy the world and the good guys to keep evil from destroying the world.

You also wouldn''t need to be an overtly evil character. assassins, midnight muggers, etc. i.e. you are an orc that has been magically transformed into a human with the goal to infatuate the stronghold of good to open the city gates, get the amulet of power, or what ever.

Just being evil also doesn’t guarantee that you will have hordes of minions to depend on and even if you do how competent/loyal will they be? The "if you want something done right, do it your self" philosophy. You may spend as much time keeping your hordes in line as following your plans to destroy the world. Spend too much time out in the field and you may end up coming back to a mutiny.

Kars

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I wonder if any one here has ever played the PC Demo "Lamers." It was a game where you have a group of little lamers that in the lemmings fasion are trying to get to a goal. The twist on this game was that the lamers had pretty good AI and did what ever was needed to get to the goal, as teh player, you had at your disposal a set of weapons and you had to kill all of the lamers.

With that, a BE A BAD GUY game would probably best work as a puzzle game, where you play the villian in a fake MMORPG, and its up to you to arrange traps and whordes of monsters to take down the good guys. This would probably be one of those sick-fun games like Grand Theft Auto.

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I''ve had similar ideas burning away at the back of my mind for a little while now.

Every time I read the Evil Overlord List I think how great it would be to have a game that lets you be the bad guy.

Of course, there is always dungeon keeper, but I''m thinking of something more open ended. The actual gameplay of DK struck me as being rather ordinary.

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Yeah, I was thinking about GTA3 too. I don''t really consider your character in GTA to be all that evil though.

I was thinking something similar to GTA where you start out low on the latter of evil, and work your way up in an evil corporation similar to the progression in GTA. Only instead of just regular evil, I want something like super villain evil. It would be kinda fun to have the hero come in and mess up your plan. I just want to be able to chain the hero to a table with a laser, and leave the room before he dies.



500x3

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Grab your sword, and get prepared for the SolidSteel RPG engine, coming soon...(i.e. when it''s done)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Machiavelli, an old MicroProse game, comes to mind.

Ostensibly you''re in charge of merchant ships and traders. However, along the way you can bribe senators, buy cardinals, and hire assassins, slanderers, and arsonists.

You *appear* to be a good, upstanding citizen -- indeed, if you''re caught attacking other traders in any way, your popularity declines. But the only way to really win is to be evil: gain control of the senate, buy enough cardinals to be able to become pope, and basically decimate the other players. All while keeping a high popularity rating.

The game was rereleased as "Merchant Prince II" a few years back -- same everything, but as a Win9x game instead of DOS. Oh, and they added a few new images. But the engine was identical.

Thief comes to mind as well, but having never played that I can''t speak to it.

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Wow, that machiavelli sounds like a cool game, never played it. I really like that concept of needing to keep a clean public image while being all nefarious in the shadows.

Kind of like being Lex Luthor

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Wow, that machiavelli sounds like a cool game, never played it.


You can still find the ''updated'' version... just search for "merchant prince 2" on www.froogle.com.

A fun game -- I still have it installed, although after ten plays it gets kind of dull, as you know exactly what you need to do to max out your final score.

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Machiavelli, an old MicroProse game, comes to mind.

Ostensibly you''re in charge of merchant ships and traders. However, along the way you can bribe senators, buy cardinals, and hire assassins, slanderers, and arsonists.

You *appear* to be a good, upstanding citizen -- indeed, if you''re caught attacking other traders in any way, your popularity declines. But the only way to really win is to be evil: gain control of the senate, buy enough cardinals to be able to become pope, and basically decimate the other players. All while keeping a high popularity rating.

The game was rereleased as "Merchant Prince II" a few years back -- same everything, but as a Win9x game instead of DOS. Oh, and they added a few new images. But the engine was identical.


My god, that was a brilliant game - I ought to get it out and play it again, I loved it at the time. "The ends justify the means."

It was partly possible to do well *and* be nice. But only if through some freak chance the other players decided to do that too.

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.

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ADOM. Not only can you chose between being the good guy or the bad guy, but the quest of the bad guy is a lot harder (hence more rewarding) than the quest of the good guy.

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The Machiavelli thing got me thinking. In almost all of the games (heck, even books, movies, etc) there is always this clear cut distinction between good and evil. I find it a little tiresome at times.

Back to Machiavelli, after reading "The Prince" it got me thinking about more realistic games. The most powerful ruler really sounds like a tyrant, but perhaps such harshness is necessary to prevent something even worse. We need more games and things like that. The part about the games, movies, etc. that irks me when it comes to good and evil is that the evil characters are so obviously evil. It''s like one day they woke up and said, "hey, I think I want to be evil today." I''d rather have a character be evil, but not realize that he is evil. Maybe he just has a perverted sense of good. Just a thought. This is one of the reasons I liked Deus Ex.

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Grab your sword, and get prepared for the SolidSteel RPG engine, coming soon...(i.e. when it''s done)

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a lot of RPGs where the player is the "good guy" already have an evil overlord or some such thing on the rise, while the player is just starting his adventuring career... perhaps an RPG with an evil main character could do the same (only backwards):

having reached an age old enough to go adventuring, you get a job as a minion of the local evil-overlord-wannabe. he gives you quests (steal this magic thing from the village, assassinate some good guy, etc) which not only make you a stronger character, but also help his cause in taking over the world. occasionally, you can be sent out to beat down those damn Heroes of the Light that keep cleaning out all the dungeons and trying to stop the evil. of course, something always happens so they don''t actually die (unless you want to have several batches of Heroes of Light, but that doesn''t sound right).

i.e. "My faithful minion, I have forseen Bob the Paladin heading to the Dungeon of Eternal Pain to get the PUSD. He must be stopped! Go, slaughter him and his companions before they find the weapon that can destroy me!"

of course, eventually the main character should betray his master and take over the growing evil powers himself (that is what evil is all about), and maybe after that should have to face those pesky Heroes of Light for a final showdown. if the player dies, they lose and good prevails (as always)... if not, he has successfully destroyed good''s only hope and wins.

or something like that.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
A message in four parts. Apologies for the length. And apologies for the anon posts; don''t ask...

quote:
Krez : a lot of RPGs where the player is the "good guy" already have an evil overlord or some such thing on the rise, while the player is just starting his adventuring career... perhaps an RPG with an evil main character could do the same (only backwards) [...]


True... although I''ve never been impressed with that plot line, no matter how common it is in CRPGs. I''m currently playing Wizardry 8 (yeah, I''m a bit behind ;-)). When you start out, the Evil One is ultra-strong and you aren''t even allowed to approach him. But for some reason, this ultimate evil has allowed enough of the "good" people (shopkeepers, quest-giving NPCs) to just live on... allowing you the chance to train and to buy increasingly powerful artifacts, eventually allowing you to win.

Now, I understand that this is the "motivation" of the game. But it doesn''t make any sense to me. Were I the Dark Savant, I would have crushed the good village (which is mere feet from my tower!), preventing any heroes from getting close to me. I would then have sent out medium-level drones to enslave all the other towns. Instead, I just occasionally send out weak servants (level-balanced to the players) to do battle?

It just feels artificial. I''ve had that problem with a lot of CRPGs.

ADOM is a decent example of a better implementation, as the underlying story doesn''t have too many gaping holes. But I don''t like the way it lets you easily shift alignments, though. Seems like once the local sherriff has seen you in your ''C+'' alignment (as chaotic as possible), you should be forever barred from town. My current character is L19 (many win around L40?), and has shifted from L+ (most lawful) to C+ and back three times already! Yeah, riiight.


Then again: what is "good", and what is "evil"? Various philosophers (Marx comes to mind) suggest that good and evil are arbitrary concepts that society imposes in order to justify the stong ruling the weak. Therefore, "good" would correlate more with "doing what is expected of you by society", which, in my mind, is closer to "lawful". Vice versa for evil.

"Evil" can also mean "a group that did us harm in the past which the victors [us] later slandered mercilessly". In that case, it would take enormously cool (or lame) actions in order to shift your alignment to good (or evil): people tend to see what they expect to see.

If that''s the case, then some of the currently popular models of a "faction alignment" would make a lot more sense: to the elves, you are a "good" person, while the dwarves find you "extremely evil". Different society, different alignment.

Of course, the way it''s usually implemented ("kill an X and your X alignment drops" is ludicrous. It disallows for all of the intrigue that shows up in a game like Machiavelli. Better models would allow for hidden agendas, betrayals, etc -- probably you would have separate alignments and levels of trust for every individual in the game!


One game with an interesting model was Darklands (also MicroProse, 1992). It didn''t let you play evil -- you were explicitly on the side of good. However: what you did affected your local and global reputations. Caught outside after curfew? You can run, hoping to get away (bigger rep drop if you''re caught, none if you make it). You can bribe the guards (small drop). You can fight (huge drop). So why go out after curfew? Turns out there are thugs in the alleys, and if you fight them, your local rep goes up slightly. Once local rep is high enough, shopkeepers offer you better wares, you can talk to people who would have thrown you out before, etc.

Now, what does that have to do with playing evil? Well... if your rep drops too low, you can''t even walk the streets in the daytime! Guards roam the streets, and will attack if they see you (lowering rep yet again!). Many shops won''t sell to you, unless you''d done favors for them in the past. Word of your infamy spreads (slightly) to nearby towns and villages.

So, no, in terms of the storyline, you can''t play evil. But you can pick an area and become quite evil locally... even if you''re just a local menace. (no, unfortunately you can''t set up shop as Evil Overlord and rule a town or castle.. sigh)


Okay. So, let''s assume that "evil" means "against the fabric of the society doing the judging". This would seem to make it a lot easier to play an evil character in a world with multiple factions. That way, you can rampage, loot, etc one group, but you still have a "support base" that isn''t entirely underground (except for the intrigue folks, of course). Without the support base, your characters would have to be tough enough already to duke it out all alone. With it, you can still have the skill levels and everything we''re used to.

Thoughts?

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I was thinking more along krez''s post, but you start out as THE powerful bad guy the good guys are out to stop. It''s all in the title of the post. If there''s a way to destroy the world you gotta find it and the artifacts to do it. You come up with the plan. Has anybody ever watched Zoids: Chaotic Century?

Oh, and about shopkeepers and other people not helping and attacking you because you''re evil(because that is so ***********************************************************************************************), how would shopkeepers and other people even know?

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I know being the bad guy''s been done, but since when do you actually come up with a plan? That''s the point of my post. (Besides that one game where you''re Wile E. Coyote and trying to trap the Road Runner, and that game mentioned, Lamers.)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by RolandofGilead
I was thinking more along krez''s post, but you start out as THE powerful bad guy the good guys are out to stop. It''s all in the title of the post.


Okay, makes sense. I was thinking more along the lines of a classic CRPG, but from the evil viewpoint. Sorry...

quote:
... how would shopkeepers and other people even know?


Because they talk to eachother? ;-)

quote:
I know being the bad guy''s been done, but since when do you actually come up with a plan?


Plan making has never been well implemented. The best examples I can think of are the pure strategy games, where you''re giving orders that are going to be followed out (but later). Most games, though, live in the "now". As such, any plans exist solely in the mind of the player, which makes it difficult to enforce in the engine.


Okay, then. You start out as an ultra-powerful bad guy... your motivation is ultimate evil (destroy the world, or sabotage peace, or...).

Sounds like you need one of those "the world used to be inhabited by giants, but over time, knowledge was lost" sort of worlds. Great Good discovered (or created) powerful artifacts. These could be used for good, or evil, as most tools can be. Great cataclysm of some sort happened. The artifacts still exist, being powerful -- but the forces of Good were wise, and protected them with traps, golems, whatever -- things not of the current world.

You start out as mojo bad dude. Alas, you know nothing of these past technologies/magicks/whatever. You''re just evil, have minions, and folks in the normal world can''t do (much) harm to you. You have to get the artifacts, figure out how they''re used, cajole/threaten the knowledge out of the good sages of the time, and use them to destroy/enslave the world.

That could work, if carefully balanced. You don''t want it to turn into a mere "hunt for items" game, or a "gather clues for puzzles" game. A balance of gathering items and finding knowledge, all the while doing evil things to people. Possibly infiltration, pretending to be a good person.

But of course, would such a game sell? Sure, well done, I would buy it. The average marketing, though... I''m not sure how I would present it to keep it from being banned from Walmart (and etc)...?

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"The Machiavelli thing got me thinking. In almost all of the games (heck, even books, movies, etc) there is always this clear cut distinction between good and evil. I find it a little tiresome at times. "

Actually what got me thinking about all this was actually the opposite. Its always frustrated me in games where you basically play the "good" guy, and yet you do bad things (just don''t get caught). The main thing is thieving. Its one thing to clean out a dungeon, but in too many games (especially rpgs) some really good equipment is found in peoples rooms/houses/chests. Take Morrowind as an example. If I hadn''t cleaned out every room that didn''t have someone in it I''d have been poor as dirt. Thieving made an enormous difference to your cash supply. In games like Baldurs Gate theres always a good weapon in a chest or something which doesn''t belong to one of the bad guys, it may even be a good guy. Heck you had to kill Drizzt Do''Urden to get the best scimitars and light armor in the game! Its fine to allow people to RP and to make those choices, but when you put yourself at a fair disadvantage not doing it, then that ruins it a bit.

Darklands...man, theres a lot of lessons to be learnt there, it ranks as my favourite game of all time. I''ve never been that addicted. Heck, I played for weeks before I even realised there was a main storyline to finish the game, I was having too much fun just playing!

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Speaking of Deus Ex, do you really think that they should have stuck to the Luminati story for the sequel? I think that they should have made 3 seperate games based on alternate realalities of that reality. You know, they should have made a game that is based on the Luminati, Techno God, and End of Technology endings.

Take the Techno God game, it could become an RTS where you control a new government or you could flash forward to the future where Denton began to malfunction and thus become corrupt so a new character is born to counter act the corruption.

If you base it off the End of Technology ending, you could be fased with a brave new world where only the simplist of tecnology works -- the things that were not tied to the central computer. Remember, Traser Tong said to find him at the end, so you could base part of the action on old methods of tracking. Just because the central hub/server is dead, dosen''t mean that it can''t be rebuilt to a standard that we have today. Just because you kill the head of the Luminati by blowing up the reactor dosen''t mean that you end the plague either. The Luminati could take over again anyway -- they would just take longer to reorganize. Also, you could still play the main character again because you''re a cyborg that was grown in a lab -- you could be repaired by Traser Tong''s men who know about the technology anyway. Remember, their base was in Hong Kong but their computers had to be blocked off from the rest of the world somehow and they could still use helicopters or jets to get to the location of the last transmission that Denton sent out.

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