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MrSandman666

Designing text based RPGs

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Ok, this is a brainstorming session. What do you think makes a good text based RPG? Do you think cyberpunk would be suitable for that or is fantasy the one and only settiing? And why? What about rules and game mechanics? Just post everything about this what comes into your mind.

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I think a cyberpunk text RPG would be cool. Obviously the game would be turn-based. (I don''t know . . . maybe not.) It would have to be well-written. (Of course) People will forgive badly written text if they''re given pretty pictures to look at or color in. I could really get into cyberpunk. I haven''t seen much of it. I''m thinking like FFVII before you leave Midgar. Midgar was awesome, the rest of the game was pretty lacking.

More on this story as it develops

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Well, the first question I''d ask you is, what are your references ? What did you read, and thus what is gonna inspire you ? If you don''t have a lot of sources, then maybe now is the time to grab some books and start reading. This helps a lot.
Then, I don''t really see any problem with a text interface. Actually, it seems more plausible to me, as the cybepunk is dominated by technology, and the coldness of a text interface seems quite appropriate to me (if you are playing a hacker, that is )
Oh, and what kind of RPG have you read about, as well ?

As well, if you want answer, be very afraid of open topics like that ... this doesn''t seem to be vey popular from my own experience. Techies get very afraid when you give them too much space to think in

youpla :-P

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Uhhh, what do you mean... real time text base RPG??? How would that be possible? I can only think of turn based ones. But that doesn''t mean, that there isn''t anthing else.

Ok, my references:
Played Shadowrun for quite a while now, been reading Shadowrun novels, know quite a lot about that system and world.
Have been looking into AD&D, MERS (which are both fantasy RPGs) and Vampire (which is set today, but is more cyberpunk than AD&D and MERS).
I guess that''s about it.

And about the text interface: The player won''t necessarily play a hacker. Thanx for the idea though. It would be a good possibility to implement a direct console for hacking.

And I posted this topic on the design forum because I hoped not to get only techies but also some really creative brains, writers and gamers.

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Well, go forth and read William Gibson, after *HE* created the gnere ... so go get "Neuromancer", personally I like "Burning Chrome" where you''ll find the original story that later turned into "Johnny Mnemonic"; also read "Count Zero" and ...well ... anything by Gibson. There is also another book by someone else, I think it''s "Gravity Kills" in english, not sure. If you played Shadowrun you should check out the bibliography (if you''ve got the books).

What do I mean real time with text ? Well ... simply that the game can very well be. But if you are doing a single player, I guess why bother

If you want more ideas for storie. Go on the writing forum

youpla :-P

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The one thing that i think would make a modern-future day game that way is range-based combat. I.E. you don''t have to be standing in the same room to attack someone if you have a firearm/projectile weapon. And the Heavier the gun/firearm the further away you could fire. Of course this also adds up to stuff like accidentally hitting a bystander in a room between you and your target.
Anyway, for reading(research) materials...
Shadowrun 3rd Edition published by FASA
It is THE authoritive Cyberpunk RPG.
Neuromancer & Johnny Mneumonic by William Gibson
These books DEFINED the cyberpunk genre.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Another BIG NAME cyberpunk book.
Akira and Ghost in the Shell -Anime
Both of these films have a real cyberpunk feeling to them
besides just being fun to watch

-Run_The_Shadows
-Run_The_Shadows@excite.com

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quote:
Original post by Run_The_Shadows
Shadowrun 3rd Edition published by FASA
It is THE authoritive Cyberpunk RPG.



I disagree - Shadowrun has magic. Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. has a much more raw and stylish feel to it.




People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~

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I wasn''t shure yet wether to use magic or not. I definately do anything to get Shadowrun 3rd Edition and the most importand extensions.
In my opinion, Shadowrun is the best cyberpunk world ever (although I have to damit that I don''t have much experience with other games).

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Ahh... Wouldn''t a hacker RPG be cool!! *drool*

-Jussi

"Calmly walk from slut to slut
Up everyone. You know I don''t mind a fuck
No protection baby, who fucking cares
Take a look. Come on. Everyone stare"

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A hacker RPG?
Could you be a little more specific, please?
Do you mean you would acutally play a hacker, running around in a world, hackig all kinds of computers or does the player have to actually hack the game?

In my original plans, the player could become a hacker if he wanted to, but he could also become a fighter, assasin, pilot, whatever (I won''t use classes. Styles can be created by choosing proficiencies. Kinda pseudo classes).

Oh and Selkrank, where is your signature from? Lyrics?
And it would be good if you wouldn''t use iany more. It doesn''t offend me, in fact I like them, but some filters may block this thread when they encounter works like that.

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quote:
Original post by MrSandman666

Do you mean you would acutally play a hacker, running around in a world, hackig all kinds of computers or does the player have to actually hack the game?


Actually, I was thinking of a game where you were only hacking at a computer. No running around. All communications and "role playing" would be through e-mail or chat.

quote:
Oh and Selkrank, where is your signature from? Lyrics?

Yes, all of my sigs are lyrics. That was My Dying Bride: Heroin Chic.

quote:
And it would be good if you wouldn''t use iany more. It doesn''t offend me, in fact I like them, but some filters may block this thread when they encounter works like that.


Yes, besides, I just realized that someone might be offended by quotes like that.

-Jussi

"no conscience, one motive...
to cater to the hollow."

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text based RPG huh? sounds like those old infocom games like zork and freefall. strickly text, turn-based...well sorta. i'd be surprised if another one of those games got popular then again thinking back when i played them they were the coolest...actually made you think more since you couldnt see it. leaves a lot to the players imagination.

back to the original post, "what makes a good text-based RPG?", i'd have to say lots of detail in surroundings and characters. give total freedom to the player even though more than half of the choices they might choose will kill them or get them in real trouble. i like it when games dont let you just kill whoever you want without any repercussions (ok, thats kind of lie ). if your a cyberpunk and your hacking into some companies files, you should be accountable for leaving no traces that you were there.

/* end babbling */

Edited by - xtrmntr on October 11, 2000 2:16:52 AM

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To Selkrank:
I didn''t know that My Dying Bride had lyrics like that! I ony know one song of them and didn''t pay much attention to the lyrics.

And I''m still no convinced by your idea of a hacker game. I mean, the idea is cool, but how would that be done?
How would you actually hack a computer? I''m not a hacker, but I know that to hack a computer nowadays, you need all kinds of tools and research to be succesfull. That isn''t fun at all. Well, it can be a ''hobby'', but I don''t think a game could work like this.
Could you give some more details on that idea?


To xtrmntr:
I actually planned to implement a great amont of freedom, a non-linear storyline and stuff like that. It should move a little back to Pen ''n'' Paper RPGs.
I''m not sure whether I''ll implement a parser or multiple choice. Depends on how much time I have left.

I share your oppinion that text based RPGs make you imagine the surounding merely than actually showing it and thus create a much tighter atmosphere.

Any other ideas are still welcome!


"Mr Sandman bring me a dream"

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quote:
Original post by MrSandman666

To Selkrank:
I didn''t know that My Dying Bride had lyrics like that! I ony know one song of them and didn''t pay much attention to the lyrics.


Yes, they are very unusual for My Dying Bride. MDB''s other CDs are doom metal, 34.788%... Complete (the CD) is nothing like normal MDB.

quote:
And I''m still no convinced by your idea of a hacker game. I mean, the idea is cool, but how would that be done? How would you actually hack a computer? I''m not a hacker, but I know that to hack a computer nowadays, you need all kinds of tools and research to be succesfull. That isn''t fun at all. Well, it can be a ''hobby'', but I don''t think a game could work like this.
Could you give some more details on that idea?


Normally, hacking is not realistic in cyberpunk. Just take a look at different types of hacking rules in eg. Cyberpunk, GURPS Cyberpunk (which has 3 sets of different hacking rules), the original System Shock, BloodNet and Beneath a Steel Sky. Just invent some cool system, which is fun to play but doesn''t seem overly unrealistic.

quote:
SeanHowe
A computer game centered around doing stuff on the computer. Doesn''t that seem just a little bit freaky to anyone else?

It''s easier to simulate computers in a computer game than real life.

-Jussi

"My star, I saw it high and far
At the parting of the ways
A light on the edge of the outer night
Like silver set ablaze"
- Summoning

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Well, Selkrank, Doom metal isn''t quite my idea of good music (that''s a matter of taste and the truth lies in the eye of the beholder, I know)
I like styles more like true metal, progressive metal, hardcore, hardrock and stuff like that (gothic and some black metal bands aren''t bad either).

Well, I guess I won''t limit my game to hacking. As I said, the gamer cam choose to hack the whole game long, but he doesn''t have to.
I''ll give him the choice.

To xtrmntr:
I''m impressed by Zork. I just downloaded it and fought my way through the window on the backside and the kitchen in the living room. I love this parser! Wil you e able to talk to people in that game? I''d like to see how they solved this problem. I don''t want to include natural language processing!



"Mr Sandman bring me a dream"

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quote:
Original post by MrSandman666

Well, Selkrank, Doom metal isn't quite my idea of good music (that's a matter of taste and the truth lies in the eye of the beholder, I know)


I don't want to argue about music in this thread, I just say that I listen to almost all kinds of music.

quote:
Well, I guess I won't limit my game to hacking. As I said, the gamer cam choose to hack the whole game long, but he doesn't have to.


Ok. But make a good hacking system, too. Not some simple and lame solution like System Shock 2 and Deus Ex.

-Jussi

"You can't expect to see him and survive
You'll swallow his tongue of thorns
His mouth, dripping with flies
In his glorious kingdom of fire"
- My Dying Bride

Edited by - Selkrank on October 12, 2000 7:57:40 AM

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Yeah, this subject surely isn''t about music.

And what do you think about dialogs? I think it would be cool to use a parser for the basic interface. I have some special idea for the fighting interface, but how should I do the dialogs?

Any ideas?



"Mr Sandman bring me a dream"

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Basically you''re talking about kinda a cyberpunk MUD... only not Multi User... or having the other "users" be ''bots... lok up some info on MUDS, they probably have lots of info on how to script your own stuff into a pre-existing MUD engine, or how to write your own engine...

And BTW the absolutely best cyberpunk SF novel is "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson...

-Nate

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mrsandman: not sure but i would assume they had to use a parser(probably lex) but interaction with other characters was not really there in zork. i think the most you could get out of a creature/person was a grunt/grin/or nothing at all. i dont think it would be too difficult to have the characters talk back to you but now we get back to the idea of the characters having a limited amount of dialog forcing the player through a linear stroy even though it might not look like it. if thats all you're going for then it should be pretty easy, however, if you want to stun the gamers maybe you could figure out a way to randomly(limited though) talk to your character. a big task all in itself.

question: are you going for absolutely NO graphics whatsoever or might you place a few for say characters and maybe your inventory?

back to your original question: arent most games in general fantasy? even cyberpunk is a fantasy. nobody wants to play a game that mimics real life so much because its dull. if by fantasy you mean wizards and warriors type stuff then no. why not make a text-based RPG with you as a hard-nosed criminal. you could belong to a gang that gets into fights with rival gangs, pulls off hiests, and tries not to get caught. just an idea.

yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift...

Edited by - xtrmntr on October 12, 2000 3:57:46 PM

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To xtrmntr:
In the original post, I refered to fantasy as this medieval stuff with wizards and warriors and stuff.
And if you regard fantasy to be everything which is non-fiction then you're right. Almost every computer game is non-fictional.

Yeah, I guess it would be way to complicated to integrate a parser for NPC dialogs. Would be a cool feature, but it would probably take a lifetime to do that.

Oh, and my story is going to be non-linear. I wan't to stun the players, but I don't want to force them through a linear story line.

So what would be the alternatives? The only thing I could think of is a multiple choice like dialog system.

And, well, at the moment I'm using the Win32 console only. i can generate some graphics by using colored characters and letters but that wouldn't be good for anything but a rough map and a more comfortable user interface.
I originaly decided to go text based, because I'm a horrible artist. And besides this is a project for my AP Computer class which has to be finished by the end of the semester. It's mainly about programming (the class itself is all about C++).
So I decided to do something where I don't have to spend time, which I don't have, on graphics and sounds.
Why do you ask?

Still, any input is welcome and appreciated!

Edited by - MrSandman666 on October 13, 2000 8:20:13 AM

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"Wired" had an article about this guy in Britain who was putting a chip in his arm that tapped into his nervous system and picked up on mood changes, etc. The chip had a wireless connection to the computer network in his lab. Anyway, the chip would read a different patterns coming down his arm and send the series of signals to the computers. He was then going to record how he felt, and get the computer to be able to categorize these different signals / feelings.

Later, his wife was to get one, and the computer network would ''trade'' signals between them to see if they could sort of telepathically pick up on each other''s feelings. Then, one of them was going to fly off to New York, and their ''feelings'' were going to be traded via the internet. This stuff hadn''t happened as of the writing of the article.

Ultimately, he envisions a chip that lets you tap into the internet by thinking about it, and letting the information stream right into your mind. In addition, you should be able to ''mindlink'' into a program and call it up to perform massive math calculations and pipe the solutions right into your brain.

One problem: hackers. There will be hackers tapping right into your brain and making you go crazy. They''ll be stealing content right out of your mind. Scary?

So you want to do a hacker game, eh? Think of the possibilities.



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Well, my hacking system looked somehow like that.
The player could implant a link into his scull (let's call it a cyberlink). He could plug a cable to this link and, using some sort of modem or mini computer where all the programms are stored on and which is used as some kind of firewall to keep hackers from grilling your brain, surf the "internet" only using his brainpower. Somehow like on a virtual reality trip.
This system is pretty much liek the Shadowrun/Gibson one. It's not innovative or new but I like it.

And, no I haven't heard of major mud. It's a mud, right? I haven't had any experiences with them and don't plan to programm one.

Oh, and as we're just talking: Do you think it would be possible to make a hack 'n' slay game like Diablo in a cyberpunk setting? How would you do the interface for that? It would be somehow hard to do, as you have hardly any close quarter fighting in cyberpunk and I can't come up with a good and fast UI for fire arms.
And keep in mind: I'm doing and ASCII game.

Would be really great if you could help me out.

Edited by - MrSandman666 on October 19, 2000 2:53:00 PM

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