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From the players persective, how would one create a role for their character. As i see it, the first step of bringing back role-playing is to emphasize the role you wish to play. Then you (as the player) would understand your role. The player has to enjoy their role as well, so the creation of a role should be inspiring and create a sence of ownership over the characters role for the player to [want to] adhere to it one way or another. The player should also feel a sence of loss when they realise that they are drifting away from the role of their character. This would have to be done initailly at the start of the game, yes? Even when we were kids and we role played batman or superman out the back yard we only played these roles because they had some sort of "Special Ability" so were we really playing a role or just giving ourselves some sort of Power Trip? I love Game Design and it loves me back. Our Goal is "Fun"!

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In a way, I feel like you are talking about certain role-restrictions.
I''m not sure if you''re familiar with ADnD, but there, the Paladin character class ( "role" if you will, though I don''t think it quite defines a role yet ) is made so that if you stray from the path of goodness, you lose all your special abilities and become "just another fighter character".

Doing things like that could force the player to "stay in character". But I don''t like forcing .

Anyway, that''s just one idea, I''ll post more if I have anything that I think would be better;



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It seems to me that you are asking something about how to we introduce the player to the role? And secondly - how do we maintain this role throughout the game?

Unfortunately - more often than not, the player doesn''t even choose the role. This is inherent in the linearity of the game - this is why we go to painful lengths to make the protagonists in games "cool" - and generally actually have the main character in the game a protagonist and follow a righteous, sorrowful, bloody and rewarding path.

If the player were to choose the role, then that means the player''s choices and actions would have humungous changes and consequences, as Warren Spector tries (wishes) to achieve in his games. It is quite hard to drift from a role, and actually end up with a connsequence, if this were the case and consequences to actions occured, then I think we could have a lot more role-playing and role-sticking in games as we - the player - would see things happening to the character, and the environment the charcter is in, if the player guided the character away from it''s role.

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Actually, the trickiest part of this is probably also the solution. In a good plot to any story, there is always foreshadowing and othersuch things... meaning the character is inextricably linked to the plot. So if you offer a player a "Character creation/selection" phase, it should be at this point where the first decisions are made in the plot tree. Choosing certain qualities to play in your character will hence affect the initial direction of the game.

This means that if the player starts getting "out of character", things would stop making sense in a linear game... This is where we start to see the CONSEQUENCES of a personality change. NPCs who knew the character BEFORE might remark on the change, and even develop contempt for the character, etc. You would need an entire system for determining what kind of behavior dictates what in the game, exactly when a change has taken place, what the reacttions to that are. It''s not enough to merely account for NPC reactions to a certain personality type, you must also create a different reaction for one they knew before that has changed now.

I''m dubious. I don''t know if it''d be worth the work...

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I think the "character" is tied in with a plot but "role "(personality, quirks etc) never are and never really need to be.

There''s a fine difference between character and role :-) and i think we should try to keep this in mind :-)

Taking Fallout, they went too far with the role-trait-powerups. The problem with that game was that the personality traits and quirks weren''t individual enough. But i think they were on the right track to what i''m talking about. Every character can have a new/different personality without effecting the game in a manner that disorts the storyboard in anyway.

I mean, isn''t personality a role anyhow? I''m just trying to get this right so i''m on the same wave length. Or is a role some sort of middle ground between personality and character?

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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quote:
Original post by Paul Cunningham

From the players persective, how would one create a role for their character. As i see it, the first step of bringing back role-playing is to emphasize the role you wish to play. Then you (as the player) would understand your role.

The player has to enjoy their role as well, so the creation of a role should be inspiring and create a sence of ownership over the characters role for the player to [want to] adhere to it one way or another.

The player should also feel a sence of loss when they realise that they are drifting away from the role of their character. This would have to be done initailly at the start of the game, yes?

Even when we were kids and we role played batman or superman out the back yard we only played these roles because they had some sort of "Special Ability" so were we really playing a role or just giving ourselves some sort of Power Trip?

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!


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quote:
Original post by Paul Cunningham

From the players persective, how would one create a role for their character.



One question is, how much of the role is in the game and how much is in the player''s imagination? I like the device where an NPC makes a statement or takes an action and you get three or four choices of how to react. This of course has the downside that there occasionally will be no answer that''s right for you, but there''s downsides to everything. What''s really cool but no one seems to do is to make one of the plot branches depend on a choice the player makes regarding an NPC. E.g. "Do you want to attempt a romance with player X, yes/no?" "Do you want to kill the badguy or spare his life if he''s actually going to go on being a badguy?"

And this type of question, letting the player chose how the character reacts to things, even if the answers don''t affect the plot tree much, is still very satisfying to answer if you''re a player who really wants to roleplay.

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It''s not really a question how much of the role is in the players imagaination. It''s more, how much inspiration does the player recieve from role playing.

roleplaying must = fun. and "fun is like food"- You consume what tastes good. So "role-playing" in-game must taste really good. I know how really simplton this sound but so many people don''t seem to be grapling this too well :-)

The more role-play input to an CRPG then the more progress is achieved when trying to make an CRPG.Let''s not worry too much about the players using their imagination for now :-) as i''m sure that they would regardless!

But sunshadow, i do agree with most of your post!



I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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What you''re really talking about is consequences for actions other than swinging your sword around, isn''t it?

Because in the current crop of CRPGs, that seems to be the only thing that really makes a difference.


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This all kind of goes back to my ranting about non-linearity in the Interactive vs. Linearity post. The way I see it, if you allow the player to interact with the plot and change it around based on the player's actions, then role-playing can become a part of the game.

The important point is that the consequences for the player's actions should for the most part be straight-forward. So, that if the player makes a morally correct choice then most of the time a morally correct consquence should happen that seems logical.

If you give the player some freedom, then role-playing can become a part of it easily.

Also, as opposed to giving a list as sunandshadow mentioned, I like the idea of certain commands being present throughout. Then, certain commands would cause different effects in different situations. That way the player feels like he/she is in control of the situation, and there's not some list of choices constricting him/her.


Keith, how long have you been a moderator? I just noticed it.

"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." --William Blake

"The road of excess also just ends up making me tired because I'm too lazy" --Nazrix

Edited by - Nazrix on July 18, 2000 4:05:29 PM

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I became a moderator yesterday Nazrix
( Tuesday 18 July )

Anyway, ON topic:
Having the player''s role-playing affect the plot is not necessarily a good idea. It should affect reactions and the way the world looks and responds.
I think we should separate the role-playing from decision-making. Okay, sometimes the role will influence decisions, but it''s the decisions that change the path of the game.
The role-playing is just something that adds another layer of abstraction and emotion-candy ( eheh, as opposed to eye-candy ) to the game. This is what we should play on.



Hmm, this just occurs to me:
How far are the player''s ( or character''s, I guess these are sometimes a bit interchangeable ) emotions tied up with the plot? Does this vary from story to story?

What I''m talking about now, I guess, is having ACTUAL emotion in a game. If you don''t have emotion, are you really playing a role? ( even a stone-cold character needs to be set in a world with emotion, or it will make no difference, cfr. quake. )



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Here are my suggestions ( for the moment ) for emotional states within actors of the game ( NPCs and players ):

If you want it simple, just have the one state:
Happiness
The problem is, where do angry and afraid fall on this scale? You simply go from very positive to very negative, but it''s hard to translate.

For more complex I''d go for
Security, Energy, Positivity

Some examples:
High security, High energy, Low Positivity = Livid.
Medium security, High energy, Low Positivity = Annoyed.
Low security, High energy, Low Positivity = Terrified.
Medium security, Low energy, Low Positivity = Depressed.

Etc....

Think this is a workable system? I''m looking for contra-examples, and reasons why this might not work very well.



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quote:
Original post by MadKeithV
Having the player's role-playing affect the plot is not necessarily a good idea. It should affect reactions and the way the world looks and responds.
I think we should separate the role-playing from decision-making. Okay, sometimes the role will influence decisions, but it's the decisions that change the path of the game.
The role-playing is just something that adds another layer of abstraction and emotion-candy ( eheh, as opposed to eye-candy ) to the game. This is what we should play on.


Exactly what i'm thinking... "Emotion Candy", i like it :-)



I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

Edited by - Paul Cunningham on July 19, 2000 4:40:15 AM

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So we have the next problem:
- How do we represent ( visually or otherwise ) emotion?
( see "You have an ugly (inter)face" thread I guess )
- How do we manipulate it?
By that I mean, how do we give our player character emotions without taking over the roleplaying, AND, how do we let the player character influence NPC''s emotions!


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IMHO i don''t think that emotions need or should be graphically displayed by a character. I think this is more likely to add a new type of powermaxing to the game. That is, people will build character that "kiss everyones ass" in order to get through the game as quickly and easily as possible with minimal problems.

What i''m thinking is making those problems such as confrontations due to role quirks and perks an element in a RPG which wil become the most enjoyable part of the game :-)

I would like is if the player got a grasp/learnt (and enjoyed) on what they expected their character to say in certain parts of the game as this would be (secretly) be attaching the player to the role of their character. ie player role playing :-)

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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quote:
Original post by Paul Cunningham

IMHO i don''t think that emotions need or should be graphically displayed by a character. I think this is more likely to add a new type of powermaxing to the game. That is, people will build character that "kiss everyones ass" in order to get through the game as quickly and easily as possible with minimal problems.




Possibly, indeed...
but shouldn''t they be displayed by the NPCs? ( I''m still talking single-player only ).
If they aren''t displayed by the NPCs in some way, either graphically or through text, you are not really interacting with it.

However, before you go graphical, go text first. I think text-based is the best way to try out ideas, after all, it seems to work in books!

Another thing to keep in mind is that "kissing ass" may actually anger some NPCs if they are programmed in a way that is detailed enough. The ''brave warrior mayor''( aka moderator ) of the town may find you a wimp if you do not oppose his views, and decide not to give you the information you need to progress along your sacred quest.






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quote:
Original post by Paul Cunningham

From the players persective, how would one create a role for their character. As i see it, the first step of bringing back role-playing is to emphasize the role you wish to play. Then you (as the player) would understand your role.




I suppose I am arriving a bit late, because it seems you have all drifted quite far from the topic, but anyway.

Does any of you around here ever played Pencil&Paper Roleplaying Games ???

If not, there is a brilliant technique to create character, and help newcomers to get an idea of there role.
First give them an appearance. If the player (I will assume hereafter, that we talk of a beginner, and someone who actually CARE about playing a role) see his character, it helps him a lot.
Then create a story with bits and pieces, Multiple Choices Questions. I think Daggerfall had something like that, but it didn''t create an actual story, rather it geve you a class of character. Same in Ultima IX, when you have to choose between different attitudes.
I think the first time I saw this "background story generator" in effect it was for Cyberpunk (the RPG), some ten years ago ... and no one from the computing RPG seem to have noticed ? Otherwise why are you asking the question ?

Allright, I just browsed through my books, and here is an example of such system :
1. How old is the character ?
2.Depending on the age, you have lived more or less significant events in your life. You may have only skills, or a real job, more or less money, etc. (this is done in another section)
3.Choose your past : (depending on your age, throw the dice, and you get a type of event, then another dice to get the event, on a 2D6 system, a 2 or a 12 usually gives you a really cool/uncool event, while a 7 might be just casual situation)

ex : I am 36 (this gives me 6 events)
-event 1 : (I get a 7 then a 2)
You spent most of your childhood in a gang (this gives me a free skill related to Gangs)
-2 (7, then 12)
Same event ... I must have spent a reaaaally long time in this gang.
-3 (7,10)
A gang lord has a debt towards me, he owes me a service. (those three events gives me the ability to know one NPC from a gang)
-4 (3,7)
You have realised a video from a bomb attack on a corporation, this video was played on a Network. (You get money, you have the possibility to choose Reporter as your job).
-5 (10,10)
You have a debt towards a Ronin (a killer), he can asks you a service anytime.
-6 (9,9)
The Yakuza (the japanese Mafia) has a reward for your head ...
(you can''t choose a job in the Yakuza)

Then, YOU create a little story with those elements... anyone wanna give it a try ? Well, here''s mine with thse elements :
"
I spent my childhood in a gang ... until I was 21, the Gang was my only family, and Crusher, the boss, was quite protective with me, especially after a took a bullet he was supposed to get. But I was tired with all this violence. I wanted to become Reporter, bring those bastards from the Corporations to the Justice, destroy them with the only weapon effective against them, the media. So I got a little camera, and started practising. I got lucky, so to speak. I filmed a bomb attack on the Matsushita corp. What I didn''t know, is that minutes before the bomb exploded, the local boss for the Yakuza was meeting the CEO of Matsushita in this building ... and there I am filming him. When they saw the film on the Network, they weren''t sure that the visage had been noticed. But there is no place for such a risk, the tape was "recovered", and now there is a price on my head, jsut in case ... so I went back to the Gang, to hide. A team of Yakuza killers attacked us, but Hiro, a ronin our gang rented, defended me. I owe him big time ...
"

So there. 5 miutes to create a nice storyline for your Cyberpunk character, this gives us 2 NPC to relate to the player, a goal in life (escape the Yakuza), and endless possibilities for the skilled GameMaster.

Now how do you apply that to computer RPG ?

(I am sure the post is a bit long, but I''d love to see comments on that one)

youpla :-P

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I thought of a way to limitate players maximizing their characters ( in france we call this type of players Gros Bill as in Big Bill for example during a role playing session the master asks to roll a d10 for initiative, the usual Gros Bill response would be 15 due to his sword +8 against green scaled dragons and his belt +2 against dragons in general )

It is about stories : will the NPC loves more a character wich handles any fight single handed or will they prefer an heroic fight were at the last second the character step out of the wall, grab the sides of the wall to prevent his fall and his opponents overbalance and fall to his death at the bottom of the wall.

Furthermore maybe the apothicary daughter will be very nice with our hero while mending his wounds...

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Maybe i should have named this thread "How to keep players Role-Playing". Your correct with what you wrote ahw! I''ve played DnD with these sorts of set up systems. Unfortunately it does not help enough from me experience

There needs to be more motivation to make player "enjoy" role playing.

It''s funny but recently i''ve been thinking about how people enjoy kaeoki. I think there is something there that we as Game Designer can learn from in terms of "Promoting Role Playing in Computer RPG''s.

I''ll return later with more thoughts but until then feel free to hassle me

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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If there is one thing Life thaught me in the recent years, it''s that you CAN''t change people ... you can try as hard as you can, but there is no way people will stay very long away from their path.
Why do I say that ... well, it''s because when I use to play RPG with people, I actually witnessed people who weren''t there to play (act) but rather to ... mmm ... I dunno, ego trip ? just waste time, I really dunno. But the fact is still there. There is a vast majority of people out there who don''t know what roleplaying is. I won''t start a Jyhad about what roleplaying is or isn''t, I''ll just stick to the words ... roleplay -> play a role. magice isn''t it, how some thing can be so self explanatory. well . not.
I still think most people seem to think that online RPG (I am talking the non textual ones) are massive frag fest with a twist. "yeah you see, I bash orks all day, but I got a role, I am a ...uuuh ... druid. Yeah, My favorite is to kill rabbits, I whack them, skin them, and make money. Waddaya mean I can''t piss on that tree ?"
I love that.
Anyway, I think, as long as you try to make a RPG for the "public" ... it just can''t work. People don''t naturally want to act, they want to have fun. Acting is NOT fun, it''s ... well ... fulfilling ?
I still remember my first RPG convention. I had never played Vampire RPG, and suddendly I am here with a team of 5 other people I had never seen before, we spend 30 minutes each with the game master for a private introduction of our characters, and we spent the next 12 hours playing ghouls. I didn''t know the system, I didn''t anything about the powers and stat system, but heck I never had such a brilliant night of RPG. Our characters were utterly ridiculous compared to any decent vampire, or even compared to the horde of soldiers after us. We got shout upon, beaten up, tortured, but in the end we saved the day. And there is nothing better in roleplaying than playing your role !
The people next door who were playing the exact same story actually finished in two hours because the guys had very difficult roles and just couldn''t do it ...

Ah well ... maybe you see my point, maybe not

youpla :-P

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Maybe you need a distraction to stop them from being so crazed? Or a good concequence.... they whack a rabbit and skin it. The other rabbits hoard them before they know what is happening and get mauled to death... serve the crazy punk right!



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quote:
By ahw

If there is one thing Life thaught me in the recent years, it's that you CAN't change people ...


But you can educate them.
My argument is, is that we (people) change everyday whether you like it or not.

A lot of people do differing things for many different reasons (a friend told them this was fun etc).

One of the main problems i see with getting people into role-playing is mindset. This can make it very difficult as a game designer. There are a lot of people out there hoping or interesting in seeing a CRPG that truely carries roleplaying themes and game game structures. These people would probably have the best mindset that would adapt to "enjoying" role playing on a computer game very easily. Were as (IMHO) i believe that there is also a lot of people who "might" slowly drift over towards games that carried more roleplaying elements in a game.

quote:
by MadKeithV

Possibly, indeed...
but shouldn't they be displayed by the NPCs? ( I'm still talking single-player only ).
If they aren't displayed by the NPCs in some way, either graphically or through text, you are not really interacting with it.


You won't find me disagreeing with displaying it (Role) Vocally by the NPC's

quote:

However, before you go graphical, go text first. I think text-based is the best way to try out ideas, after all, it seems to work in books!

Another thing to keep in mind is that "kissing ass" may actually anger some NPCs if they are programmed in a way that is detailed enough. The 'brave warrior mayor'( aka moderator ) of the town may find you a wimp if you do not oppose his views, and decide not to give you the information you need to progress along your sacred quest.


I think the key word here is "Intuition". Bringing intuition into a game to promote roleplaying could very well be one of the missing holy tools we've forgotten?!









I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

Edited by - Paul Cunningham on July 23, 2000 2:55:11 AM

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I feel all these threads are convolving to a single unified theory, but I can''t see the unified theory yet

Paul, I''m not sure what you mean by "intuition" yet...
You''ll have to explain it more.

However, I DO have an interesting thought on The Player, Emotion, and The World.
In which kind of display are you most immersed?

First-Person perspective. You see the world through your own eyes, you are there. This is the world the player character is seeing. If you feel an emotion, you do not see it displayed, it doesn''t have to be. It''s just there, in your actions, and the reactions of the people around you.

Note, that I did NOT say First-Person perspective GRAPHICS. You can have books and stories written in the first person. Doing it this way makes a lot of difference. You do not have the responsability for displaying emotion in any way - the player has the responsability for feeling it, and we have the responsability (as game designers) to evoke it...

And I''ve just shot down my own idea of a graphics engine for an RPG, I hope you realise that was a big step for me





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In response to my comment about using intuition.

There''s two ways a player can make smart progress in game. One is through the use of experience and knowledge and the other is about using intuition.

When you''re relying on knowledge to play through a game then this knowledge has to come from somewhere (the game design, story etc). But if a game is to support and promote role playing then it''s very difficult to produce all the information/knowledge for the various players roles that they may wish to play. A player should be encouraged to use there intuition in order for them to understand there role and how to play it out.

So to briefly wrap up my thoughts here, a game would probably have to support and promote intuition in order to get more of the role playing enjoyment into it.

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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