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Is more better?

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I was half-tossing around thoughts for an RPG, and I got along one particular train of thought. Theoretically, if you could create a good terrain generator that could create entire game worlds, you could create game worlds the size of france. The question is, would anyone want to play a game that massive? (assuming of course it generates decent cites, quests, and NPC's , not just a huge, creature-infested wasteland)

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unless that land the size of france was stock full of interesting plot, quests, dungeons and buildings then, IMHO, it would be pretty tedius and boring. i feel like it would make it bad to have the interesting things so spatially seperated.

-me

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I think the problem with this, is that you don't get familiar with your world. Playing an RPG is about immersion, and yes size is great for showing a living world, but if everything is randomly generated I won't be able to get around easily. Using maps and stuff might suffice, but it's still no where near as good as learning how somewhere is laid out, physically.

Maybe if you randomly generated it once, then stored it somewhere. Though I'd still be sort of iffy.

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I suspect this is the eventual direction of games, particularly massively multiplayer ones. The posts above are spot on about size versus content, but I think this is a very individual thing. It depends on how you can interact with the terrain:

For instance, Morrowind becomes very boring on replay once you map the terrain (though it would be interesting if it randomized positions of things, as well as dangers). However, it's very exciting when you don't know the terrain.

I think any open game space for an RPG needs: Danger nodes, profit points and stat challenges which get tougher / better / harder as you level. This makes movement worthwhile, and gives you something to do as you're covering alot of ground. Imagine if you have a terrain vehicle or horse, for instance. If the horse can jump gulleys and possibly even be injured or spill the rider, boring terrain navigation now becomes a subgame, perhaps one you play as you speed from mission to mission, outrun baddies, or raise to save the castle. A terrain buggy can be just as fun as you jump hillocks and try not to crash (especially if it takes damage).

As to the more hefty content issue, I think you'll need to broaden the standard RPG paradigm to make use of the extra space. Content is inevitably going to repeat. So what could you do so that the player is having so much fun this doesn't matter. (Monsters are an example of contantly repeating content, but we often don't mind).

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You would also need very very advanced NPCs because, in addition to lack of content, lack of people would be a real problem. MMPOGs attract a few hundred thousand people (not all online at once). That isn't enough to poulate a small city. Put them into a world the size of France (or worse yet the size of a world) and you could go for days without meeting anyone.

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Quote:
Original post by Obscure
You would also need very very advanced NPCs because, in addition to lack of content, lack of people would be a real problem. MMPOGs attract a few hundred thousand people (not all online at once). That isn't enough to poulate a small city. Put them into a world the size of France (or worse yet the size of a world) and you could go for days without meeting anyone.


Good observation. This reminds me of how much gameplay satisfaction is based on gameplay expectation, though.

One way you'd defeat this expectation would be to set the game in an environment that didn't warrant such an expectation: A new colony world, a post-apocalyptic environment, a land prospering after the plagues. Fallout did this nicely, as did even Morrowind (I didn't expect alot of travellers out there due to the Blight Sickness).

But if it were single player, to help handle the loneliness factor, I could see a perfect opening for the party. I suspect you won't miss the people if the environmental expectation is right and your own teamates are interesting to talk to.

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Daggerfall was supposedly the size of Britain, and took 2 weeks in real time to walk from one side of the map to the other. Most of the terrain and non-story dungeons were generated randomly at the start of each new game.

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I feel that a static map in most situations will immerse the player more than a random map by allowing the player to become comfortable in their surroundings (or at last the surroundings that they visit frequently). One of the things that I enjoyed most about Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City was jumping in a car and just driving around the city. After a while, I became familiar with many of my surroundings and it re-inforced this idea that I was in a world that I knew and understood. I pass by buildings that I once crashed a car into. I drive passed the police department and I am reminded of the jail break and subsequent car chase. Those memories made the world much more real for me than if I looked at each individual building in a random spot during each new load.

There is something to be said for randomness, however. Diablo 2 did a good job of mixing mystery (even on the third or fourth play through) with keeping the more important areas (such as towns, boss arenas, special locations, etc.) fairly static (if not in their position but their appearance/perspective/ambient visuals.

In Vice City, the static world became a living, breathing city full of memories and familiar locations (that aided in navigation). In Diablo 2, the random maps provided an adventurous experience even after multiple replays. It really depends on the type of experience you are going for. If your goal is to tie the player in closely with the world around him, then at least a fair number of locations should prove to be familiar areas. However, those safe havens of familiarity can be turned into a more exciting experience when mixed (with discretion) with non-static elements. A static town whose surrounding woods and hills are random (and may contain caves on one load, tribal villages on another load, and a treasure-protecting dragon in a rocky hillside on a different load) would be familiar enough that players would not be overburdened (or heavily reliant on maps) yet enticing enough for many players to be adventurous and explore the world--if only 50 feet from their safe haven.

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What's being wondered is, does it worth it a world where you go to where was a (random) city and now there's a dungeon, just because the world rolled the dice differently dice?

Legends say of a car-based massive multiplayer that randomizes the unimportant parts of the world, like the wide wastelands surrounding the cities and the roads crossing them. I'd say a solution like that would be the best.

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