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Nazrix

Must RPGs have a story?

95 posts in this topic

OK... Back On Topic now...

What if you just define a set of challenges or obstacles that are not necessarily on the same path. You have a linear ending with a non-linear story. The player chooses how to intercept each obstacle and passes each in a way that they see fit. By passing different obstacles, they follow different paths and therefore a different story. All is wound up at the end though into a neat little package

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          
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If the writing is good, then develop the plot.
But if it''s not, give the player more things to do, and to interact with.

ZoomBoy
Developing a 2D RPG with skills, weapons, and adventure.
See my character editor, old Hex-Tile editor, diary, 3D Art resources at
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quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft

OK... Back On Topic now...

What if you just define a set of challenges or obstacles that are not necessarily on the same path. You have a linear ending with a non-linear story. The player chooses how to intercept each obstacle and passes each in a way that they see fit. By passing different obstacles, they follow different paths and therefore a different story. All is wound up at the end though into a neat little package





There is a lot to this idea. I think that it is very true that a game can feel very different even if the plot doesn''t change drastically as long as the player''s interactions can change. We have spoken of how the game part is where the interactivity comes in. Well, if the interactivity is different then the game will feel different. I''d probably want to thrown some divergence into the plot anyway, but this is an important point I think.




"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd

"Though the course may change someimes the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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For being able to play a role in a rpg, we need an environment
where we can play this role. A story creats this environment !
It helps our mind to get creativ and build a virtual world.
If there is no story, then there should be at least the possibility to make a story while playing (actually this is what happening to us in the real life). This is something which could be done in a "heavy"-populated online rpg (we are getting close to real life), but in a single-player rpg i am afraid that the AI wont us allow to produce a convincable story while playing.
So a predefined story will help out of this.
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If you take the title "Role-Playing game" literally, then no, RPGs have no need for story by definition. I could make a FireFighter RPG, where my job was to play the Role of a firefighter. All that this neccessitates is that I fight fires, perhaps pull cats out of trees, sleep, eat, etc.

But when you consider this, most games currently called RPGs really aren''t. Your job in these games is NOT to play the role, but to reach pre-defined story points, or complete a chain of cause and effect.

Does it matter? As Landfish said earlier; Nazrix is right, but to what end? Sure we could change the title RPG, but that would solve nothing. And we could certainly make an RPG without story... ever heard of Deer Hunter? Armored core? Quake?
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AP, you missed the point. By changing it attributes, we are less limited as designers and writers in what we are setting out to achieve. It is not for the masses but for us to achieve something new and innovative... How come we are all unhappy with the way RPGs are now? Because they stick to the mouldy old rules. Let us clear away that and start anew. That is the end of the end, we create soemthing new

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          
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What is left of an RPG when you take away those moldy old rules? A simple video-game. If your resolution is to just make simple, good video-games, then I whole-heartedly agree.
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For the record, Dwarfsoft (and others) popular conceptions of game genres do exist and they aren''t going to go away. If you think the current genres are confusing or useless the linguistic strategy to use is to create a new array of terms, publish these with definitions (e.g. start a new terminology thread), and then use these terms a lot and others will pick them up and use them. Words are contagious, you know.

I''m curious to see what you would consider to be more useful genre classifications.
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S&S, that''s really not our point. We are aware that genres are inevidible in every medium. Our point is that internally, when we developers are thinking about the design for our games we should not think in terms of genres because it limits us. If you set out to make an RPG for instance we all have preconceived ideas of what the game must include as soon as we decide upon making an RPG. So, it blurs our design creativity by having these preconeived notions about what a genre must include.

See? I''m not talking so much about speaking of genres to other people or speaking of genres that other games fit in. That''s useless and often subjective. I''m talking about our internal ideas from a developer perspective. We must think in terms of what fits in our games and let the public put it in whatever genre they see fit.




"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd

"Though the course may change someimes the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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When you think about games in terms of attributes (as dwarf described), all a genre is a common collection of attributes that everyone just started copying. Then the public said, "hey these things have this, this, and this in common so let''s name it something."

That is why I think genres are limiting ''cause it makes us think that certain things must be included.


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd

"Though the course may change someimes the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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Naz has it. I would not consider removing genres from the sales side... There are already too many idiots who don''t really have a clue about the game industry without confusing other simpletons. Basically, I just think that if you know the attributes that your game holds, you will be better able to describe it on the back cover and you will be able to call it an ''RPG'' or ''FPS'' just for the sake of it. Is that really much to ask. I don''t really care if anybody else takes off on this idea anyway, because I am going to use it! I know the benefits, and I have not seen any pitfalls as yet...

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          
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Yep, dwarf has it too
I don''t mind having to use the genres to other people although it does make me cringe a bit when people mention something about an RPG on these boards and make all the common assumptions about typical RPGs. There are no rules that all the other stuff has to be a certain way, just make everything work together....


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd

"Though the course may change sometimes, the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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I''ve noticed a lot of people saying ''Role-Playing Game'': A game where you play a role, and then saying that every game has some role in it. Be it the role of a mass-murderer or commander or whatnot. I then realized, to define ''Role-playing game'' (and I realize you no longer want to define it, but I still think this will help) you must define ''role'' and ''play''.

Role - some kind of characterisation, not just "someone who kills things". That is an action, not a role.

Play - Even in the examples given, playing the role of a mayor, commando, person sent to Mars to explore demonic activities, are you really ''playing'' a role?

When you play Quake, do you consider ''what would someone in this role do in this situation?''
Then again, when you play FFVII do you think ''what would Cloud do in this situation?''

No CRPG is really a ''role-playing'' game.
Instead, any game which borrowed most of its gameplay from traditional PnP RPGs is called RPG.

So maybe, story aside, we define genres by the gameplay. If you shoot things in FP view it is FPS. If you have armies and units that move around in RT it is RTS. If you have characters with stats and gain levels by gaining experience from killing enemies in that ever-so-recognizable RPG-style battle, then you have RPG.

Of course there are so many exceptions, but RPG does not mean ''Role-Playing Game'' it means a game that borrows elements from PnP RPGs.
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Why is it that every time the term RPG comes up on this board, it launches a long discussion of trying to define what it meens? This seems to result in a general agreement that RPG doesn''t meen the same thing it used to...

That is pure BS!...the concept of RPGs basicly started with the original version of D&D in the 70''s...but even then..following those game rules...there was nothing [and still is nothing] to stop a DM from makeing a pre-scripted FF type story and directing players to control charactors they did not create...there was/is nothing to stop you from makeing a Diablo type adventure either...all it took to see that was to spend time with a more diverse set of players and DMs...

But now, with the advent of computers and game consoles, we seem to think that RPG meens only one specific type of gameplay, and nothing else...so then when FF or Diablo comes along claiming to be RPGs...We start thinking RPG doesn''t meen anything anymore, or that game X can''t fit into the RPG genre as it doesn''t fit with our personel narrow RPG viewpoint...

Wake up folks!...the "ultimate" computer RPG starts and ends with your system BIOS...computers run off of hard, solid, data...trying to duplicate the RPG experience you had with your friends playing a DM is totaly futile...computers don''t work that way, so you must define things in a precise manner [but the moment you do that you start to piss off part of the "hard core" RPG players]...MMRPGs are just as bad, if not worse, as they inherently must drop the very idea of "player = hero" concept many RPG players expect in a game...simply put, if you want to make the "ultimate" RPG...one that all players can enjoy equaly...then drop any idea of makeing it on a computer [or for a console or any other electronic device]...instead make the game you would want to play and damn what anyone else would think of it...

For the record...RPG..Role Playing Game...is a game that centers around the role the player controls [role could be something the player creates, a role he takes on as an actor would in a play, or any abstract meening thereof]...conventonaly the ''game'' part of the package is built around a statistic/stratigy mixture..others use statistic/action...and some place more emphesis on the game then upon the role [Diablo for example]...by this simple definition all games fit under the RPG label [as it should be]...however the RPG genre generaly contains a visable statistical base to further define charactor abilities and status, players generaly have direct input on one charactor, who in turn MAY direct a limited number of others forming a party [but this isn''t always the case]...the charactors in these RPG games develop within the game through adjustment of the statistical base...and not directly through developed player skill...further, games like Quake borrow elements of RPGs [health is much like the RPG convention of hitpoints] and players do have control over a role...but these are "game playing a role" as the success of the players charactor is directly attributed to player skill not the statistical rules basied systems found in conventional RPGs...thus RPGs share much with war games...but focus on small scale conflict...but within this arena there can be a vast number of creative opertunities...from mixing with a larger percentage of adventure game convention [story and puzzles take higher precidence] you see where Final Fantasy games developed from...mixing in a larger percentage from action games you can end up with Diablo...

There, now is that a definition of the RPG genre we can agree on?...
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quote:
Original post by Forneiq

When you play Quake, do you consider ''what would someone in this role do in this situation?''
Then again, when you play FFVII do you think ''what would Cloud do in this situation?''



In Quake, it can be said you''re playing a role. I''ll admit it may not be a deep role. It may not even be a realistic role, but it can be considered a role.


quote:

So maybe, story aside, we define genres by the gameplay. If you shoot things in FP view it is FPS. If you have armies and units that move around in RT it is RTS. If you have characters with stats and gain levels by gaining experience from killing enemies in that ever-so-recognizable RPG-style battle, then you have RPG.



See? Here''s what I''m talking about. I don''t mean to jump down your throat, but notice when speaking of RTS the concept of armies and units is suddenly conjured. Do you see how limiting this is to all of us as designers? Why must they be military armies/units?

Then when you mention RPG, the concept of stats, levels, experience, and killing comes to mind. Why must all these things exist?

Again my point is not to debate what an RPG is, or what games go in what categories. We could debate that for the next 200 posts. My point is, as game developers, genres limit our creativity. It''s one thing to speak in genreal about genres for simplicity, but at least in our own minds we should not allow these sterotypes of genres hinder our creativity. We should allow the possibility to break all those rules that you mentioned. At least allow the possibility to enter our minds. That''s my point.



"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd

"Though the course may change sometimes, the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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MSW,
The point is that none of can really agree on what defines genres. Genres are merely groups of ideas that a few people were clever enough to group together then people started making a name for them.

Again, the point is not to define an RPG. The point is that as developers in our own minds when we think, "I want to develop an RPG", it conjures a lot of the attributes they we have all listed (note that different people have conjured different defining attributes). So, as developers we are limited by our own definitions of what things work together to fit into a genre. I'm saying, as you are designing a game, to hell w/ genres 'cause they limit our creativity. We will associate a genre with all these attributes and not consider other possibilities.

I'm not saying this is an easy thing to do...to clear your mind of predefinited attributes of genres. It's just one of those goals that I think is good to aspire for.


(Wow, Landfish, I think I am finally starting to empathize just a little bit w/ you...My hands are so tired from typing the same thing in different words so many times....)


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd

"Though the course may change sometimes, the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on October 26, 2000 4:00:49 PM
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quote:
Original post by Nazrix


See? Here''s what I''m talking about. I don''t mean to jump down your throat, but notice when speaking of RTS the concept of armies and units is suddenly conjured. Do you see how limiting this is to all of us as designers? Why must they be military armies/units?

Then when you mention RPG, the concept of stats, levels, experience, and killing comes to mind. Why must all these things exist?



You go Nazrix!!! This is a great way to think! I posted about an RTS involving competitive building, infrastructure, and no combat units. I got fewer responses than I wanted, and attributed this partly to the fact that RTS in thought comes with a lot of baggage in thinking.

quote:


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd

"Though the course may change sometimes, the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.



Hey, I got rotated out of the .sig!!!! What''d I do wrong?!!

(j/k)

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...
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Wav, I am so glad that at least you, dwarf, and LF at least understand or else I'd go nuts. I now understand what LF was talking about when he said that he can exist metaphysically if at least one person understands.

I should have learned from LF's situation not to start a post w/ a sort of shocking rhetorical question. It just throws 90% of the people off. Oh well...

About the sig, it's just an evolutionary sig...it changes over time...nothing personal

You have to come up w/ something cool & new to say to get back in the sig


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd

"Though the course may change sometimes, the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.



Edited by - Nazrix on October 26, 2000 6:52:51 PM
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Yeah, I am totally with you on that one naz. For ages I thought I was crazy because everybody was rejecting my ideas, but now we are on the common front. I would like to see an RTS which is a cross somewhere near to a SIM without combat in it at all. It would be along the lines of setting up a city (medieval of course ) and you needed to strategically send out traders to other cities, to gain sanctions etc. It may come to blows with the traders and other traders, but that is not their primary role... That is a cross genre thing that I would be thinking of... as well as the ex-RPG''s that is

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          
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Yeah the more I post in this thread the more I learn things as I go along. I''m realizing a lot of things LF was saying a long time ago, but I see it much clearer now.


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd

"Though the course may change sometimes, the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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I''m sorry I didn''t make it clear in the first post: I really do agree with you guys.

A genre is a term used by the general public to refer to a catagory of games. RTS, as far as most people are concerned, means units and armies. I make no comment at this time as to whether this is good or bad.

I was mainly responding to those who said that any game could be argued as being RPG, trying to clarify what it would mean to ''play a role''.

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Forneiq,
Sorry I jumped on you, but you proved my point so well

I don't mind the consumers (and that includes game developers when they are buying other people's games) having preconceived ideas upon what a genre is as much as I think when we are in the process of making a game we should keep our minds as open as humanly possible just for creativity's sake. I mean, I think that our minds should be quite open in general but I'm just talking about game development for now

My point in saying just about any game could be considered playing a role was to prove that RPG doesn't mean anything, and it hinders our creativity as developers. Outside of speaking in terms of game development, I'd basically agree w/ you. I think it's okay to seperate yourself between a player of games and a creator of games. Different rules can apply to each.



"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd

"Though the course may change sometimes, the rivers always reach the sea" --Led Zeppelin

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on October 26, 2000 8:10:00 PM
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OK, I am starting up a new topic "Game Attributes (RPG-like)" that will give everyone a chance to pic elements that they want in a game (not necessarily RPG-like though) that would entertain them and would get their votes. This also includes elements that could help to categorize and cross categorize their games

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          
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Sorry folks...I missed the boat on this one...I''ve only been on this form for a week or two now and only seem to have read post after post of arguments over what an RPG is ...

I agree with the idea of keeping an open mind so as to foster creativity...but creativity can also come from an restrictive enviroment as well...take the film "The Blair Witch Project" for example...they didn''t have a hollywood size budget to make it, nor A-list actors/actress...they didn''t even have conventional camera equipment...but they still stayed within the horror film genre and managed to do pretty well in the process [wether you thought the film good/bad is beside the point]...they scared quite a few people without really showing much of anything [as the budget wouldn''t allow much in the way of special effects]...point is they did this under some pretty extream restrictions, which forced them to be much more creative... just want you to keep that in mind
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