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TechnoGoth

Having a home instead of wandering in RPGs

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TechnoGoth    2937
I''ve noticed that ever rpg seems to be a journey game. Your always moving from one place to another basicly the character is always a wander. This got me wondering why. Wouldn''t a game where you have home/base from which you launch missions out of and then return to upon there completion, be just as fun? If not more so? Since you watch your base grow from the success of your missions.,Gain wealth and possessions as well as varius followers who each add there own benefit? ----------------------------------------------------- Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades Current Design project Chaos Factor Design Document

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Operator    122
There are games like that - Suikoden II was a notable example. You got a big castle and then recruited a staggering array of nonsensical characters who helped make your castles larger and/or fought in your party.

However, a more serious answer is that the "journey" in most video games is more about symbolism than gameplay. When the player travels from place to place with the characters, and watches them grow the two things become closely intertwined.

The journey is an abstact of the changes that are occuring within the character (and hopefully the gamer) as the game progress. The reason they rarely return to a single place is because that represents a return to a mindset that they held earlier in the game-time - and a set of beliefs that have been changed over that course.

It is telling that characters return to places that they once were familiar with only to be confronted with the alieness of a place they once called "home". This precisely empahsizes the detachment that the characters have realised from a prior belief-system and the morphic tendancies that the journey has over the character. Moreover, it shows that once the change/journey has begun, any attempt to regain once held beliefs has become impossible.

Perhaps it is better to consider this less as a design issue and rather as a mere part of the family of literature that bears this same theme. In this way, games are like every other expressive medium, from the novel to the epic film. They both carry this same metaphor of "journey as development" as a central aspect to themselves. When you consider the "journey" to be a tired and dated concept you ignore the fundamental meaning that it holds in the psyche of the viewer. The "journey" exists not in as a static concept, bound by the designs of a single medium but rather as a meta-concept that has been expressed over and over again in the historical literature - Dante''s "Divina Comedia", Salinger''s "The Catcher in Rye", Tolkien''s "Lord of the Rings", even the Old and New Testaments all bear this same motif as a central concept.

Perhaps the question is not why this particular motif is common in games, but rather why more subtle variations of this motif have not yet emerged.

Cheers,
-Operator

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Flarelocke    410
quote:
I''ve noticed that ever rpg seems to be a journey game. Your always moving from one place to another basicly the character is always a wander.

This got me wondering why. Wouldn''t a game where you have home/base from which you launch missions out of and then return to upon there completion, be just as fun? If not more so? Since you watch your base grow from the success of your missions.,Gain wealth and possessions as well as varius followers who each add there own benefit?

This is Might and Magic VII. At the beginning, you win (by winning a scavenger hunt) some troublesome land, a ruined castle, and a title. Your first task is to clear the goblins who''ve infested your castle out. Next, you ask the king of the dwarves to fix your castle. He gives you a task to accomplish, in exchange for which he will fix your castle. After you do this (and your castle is all neat and tidy), two kings each with a claim on your lands send emissaries asking you to meet with each of them. They give you tasks involving you doing something bad to the other. Then they declare war on one another, and you''re asked to select a mediator. You can either select the mediator the evil guys recommend, or the one the good guys recommend. When you do, the side you choose sends builders to your castle to upgrade it (and merchants take up residence outside your throne room).

You still can''t recruit armies, and the selection of followers you get (the merchants who sell stuff outside your throne room) is rather limited, and you get them automatically.

And yes, this is more fun than playing a drifter.

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PmanC    134
in morrowind, you could have your very own stronghold built by which ever great house you work with. But, that was too much work, so i always kill some shopkeeper and use their store as a base. ... good times... good times...

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Nice Coder    366
Perhaps allowing some other form of gameplay (puzles, lists of quests to go on, mini-games) ect.
Would increase the playablity of the game, even have a client-server thing where you could download new mini-games, pussles and quests according to what you have accumplished.

Humans are Human oriented, it is because of there nature: a design flaw-greed, jelosy the solution: AI- never greedy, and they stick to there ethics no matter what.

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TechnoGoth    2937
It just seems to me that there is great deal of untapped stories to be explored, that deal with things other then going on a single journey. I guess alot of it has to do with the liner progression shown in most rpgs, where you go from a to b to c and so on, with each progressive location having harder enemies and better stuff then the previous.

By providing the character with a home which they return to after each quest it would serve to deep the players ties with npcs and the characters past. Imagine your character living in a town filled with people, friends, family, rivals. You go off on the usual small quests that make up an rpg such as going to find the mystic gem of Amun Ra. When the character returns from their quest they would find out about what happended while they where gone. Maybe give a suviener from your travels to your sweet heart. Take the time to relax after the quest maybe use the money you've earned to have a workshop built or purchase a painting for you home.

Then when the next quest comes along you set out once again. Or perhaps the next quest invloves defending the village from an attack. The player would feel sympathy as building burns and at knowning that each villager who dies in the ensuing battle is someone the player has gotten to know.

Your achivements would increase your wealth and influnce opening up new gameplay possibilites. You could eventualy transform the village into a castle and raise an army. Providing a wargame aspect to the later part of the game.
Afterall in most rpgs, you play a 1 person army taking down the evil king and their corrupt regime single handly. But thats not very likly to happen in reality. Instead of this, what if you had an army. You could then face the king on the field of battle and but an end to this regime through force of arms.

Also refering to another thread on honor in games. If you disobeyed the emperor and lost all honor then seizure of your property would be likely response. While that doesn't mean anything in most games. It would mean something if you had a home, lands, servants and possessions you spent the entire game aquiring.


-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I'm a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document



[edited by - TechnoGoth on January 24, 2004 8:40:22 AM]

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Kylotan    9991
quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
When the character returns from their quest they would find out about what happended while they where gone.

Sure, but that doesn''t require a home as such. It just requires that NPCs will change their reactions. Ultima 7 did this; revisiting a town after completing certain quests - some totally unrelated to the town - would often yield some totally different conversations with people. Whereas in Final Fantasy 6, NPCs barely had anything to say so everything seemed static.

quote:
The player would feel sympathy as building burns and at knowning that each villager who dies in the ensuing battle is someone the player has gotten to know.


This would be very hard to do properly. If you''re allowing well-developed NPCs to die, then you have to assume that they would play no important part in the game after that battle. Or have the dying villagers predetermined. Or flesh out a load of characters for no reason other than to see them potentially die in this battle. It''s not exactly a very good use of developer resources.

quote:
Your achivements would increase your wealth and influnce opening up new gameplay possibilites. You could eventualy transform the village into a castle and raise an army. Providing a wargame aspect to the later part of the game.


As with your original post, perhaps you don''t see this sort of gameplay in RPGs because this sort of gameplay is not an RPG by definition.

quote:
Also refering to another thread on honor in games. If you disobeyed the emperor and lost all honor then seizure of your property would be likely response. While that doesn''t mean anything in most games. It would mean something if you had a home, lands, servants and possessions you spent the entire game aquiring.


It''s no good it meaning something if it ruins the game. This seems to be a ''story beats gameplay'' suggestion and I don''t think it would work for a game unless you had a very big simulation backing it up.

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Fidelio66    164
quote:
Original post by PmanC
in morrowind, you could have your very own stronghold built by which ever great house you work with. But, that was too much work, so i always kill some shopkeeper and use their store as a base. ... good times... good times...


I never got to that point, however in the beginning you had to kill an npc who lived in that city with the canal in the middle, on the poor side in the house with the big tower on top. After I killed him I just moved in there and used it to store all the swords, armor, books etc. It did add something to the game, always wandering around with all your stuff, or storing it in a bank isn''t realistic. Especially not if you have a rare item, bank it, go to another town and visit the bank, and they magically have your rare item there as well for you to withdraw.

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yaroslavd    150
quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
I''ve noticed that ever rpg seems to be a journey game. Your always moving from one place to another basicly the character is always a wander.

This got me wondering why. Wouldn''t a game where you have home/base from which you launch missions out of and then return to upon there completion, be just as fun? If not more so? Since you watch your base grow from the success of your missions.,Gain wealth and possessions as well as varius followers who each add there own benefit?

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document




A recent example of such a game is FFX-2.

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Plenty of RPGs over the years have had some concept of a base, even expandable ones. In Skies of Arcadia, after a certain point in the game, you got your own base. Recruiting certain people into your crew caused them to build their own additions to that island, each of which gave the player some advantage. Very neat. Great sense of anticipation too, both waiting to get your new crewmember home for the first time, as well as coming back at some later time to see what they''ve done.

There''s more growth to be sure to the idea. To those who question the relevance of the npc vs the integrity of their mechanics vs their expendability, you''re forgetting that an npc could happily be aesthetically relevant without having to be mechanically relevant. There''s nothing to say a player can''t form an attachment to a young couple that they witness getting married early on in the game, having children during the course of the game, getting on with their own lives. Killing off this entire family wouldn''t interrupt the integrity of the game mechanic, but it certainly could affect the player emotionally.

The only problem I have with this sort of thing, is that players generally think of EVERY failiure in a game as lessening their ''final score'', whether or not there is a final score to lessen. If this happened to most, they''d just restart the game from a previous savegame and prevent it from happening, which ruins the impact really. The real trick here is doing something to the player that makes him choose to give up a potential other advantage or stick with the loss. I.e. every loss is somehow a gain later down the road.

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TechnoGoth    2937
"Sure, but that doesn''t require a home as such. It just requires that NPCs will change their reactions. Ultima 7 did this; revisiting a town after completing certain quests - some totally unrelated to the town - would often yield some totally different conversations with people. Whereas in Final Fantasy 6, NPCs barely had anything to say so everything seemed static."

The question is why would should the player revist previous towns, when not required to by the story? When as you say actions are totally unrelated to that town.

"This would be very hard to do properly. If you''re allowing well-developed NPCs to die, then you have to assume that they would play no important part in the game after that battle. Or have the dying villagers predetermined. Or flesh out a load of characters for no reason other than to see them potentially die in this battle. It''s not exactly a very good use of developer resources."

Like the AP said, and NPC doesn''t have to important in determing the outcome of game in order to be important to player. Also I don''t see it as a waste of developer resouces to emotionally involve the player in the game. Instead it improves the overall quality of the game.

"As with your original post, perhaps you don''t see this sort of gameplay in RPGs because this sort of gameplay is not an RPG by definition."

You make that sound like a bad thing. Why shouldn''t gamse introduce new elements into existing genres?


-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document

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Kylotan    9991
quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
The question is why would should the player revist previous towns, when not required to by the story? When as you say actions are totally unrelated to that town.

You''d have to play Ultima 7 to see what I mean. You revisit places because it''s a living and breathing world, unlike many other RPGs where you''re linearly shovelled from one location to the next. You go places because you are looking for clues or want to tie up one of the many sub-plots. Except you never know what is a sub-plot and what is part of the greater scheme.

quote:
an NPC doesn''t have to important in determing the outcome of game in order to be important to player. Also I don''t see it as a waste of developer resouces to emotionally involve the player in the game. Instead it improves the overall quality of the game.


All I am saying is that there are much better ways to use your time than fleshing out a complete story for 25 villagers that will have no influence on the outcome of the game except for the fact that some of them might die.

quote:
Why shouldn''t gamse introduce new elements into existing genres?


Your suggestion was not so much about introducing new elements, but about essentially playing a totally different type of game. In theory there''s nothing wrong with developing a hybrid if that''s what you want to do, although the thread title specified ''RPGs'' rather than ''RPG/RTS crossovers''.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL Docs | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost
Asking Questions | Organising code files | My stuff | Tiny XML | STLPort]

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