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Nazrix

Must RPGs have a story?

95 posts in this topic

That's okay MSW, it's hard to follow what people mean on the limited communication medium of a message board

I didn't want to talk about what an RPG is because it's subjective and futile. I just wanted to make the point that thinking in terms of genres is limiting, and I think I made the point

As long as we all learn something...that's what matters.


"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 27, 2000 1:29:54 AM
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So let''s hit the topic from the other direction, now that we are thinking freely. If you build a CRPG, or something close enough to start flame wars about it''s RPG-ness,and you did not have a story, then what are the implications?

1) You need a conclusion to the game. How else does the player know when the game is over? Fully open-ended is not a game, it''s a simulation. Which is an option, but for the moment let''s say we are building a game.

In order for the game to end, you could have a time limit - the life of the character (generally too long to be practical); you could have a separate goal not related to a story (earn 1 million gold and retire).

2) Something to motivate the player. If the victory condition can be achieved by simple repeated action then the player has no motivation to explore other opportunities. Taking the gold example, if they figure out they can earn 6 gold per hour by hunting rats near the starting point of the game then the only motivation they have to explore other parts of the game is boredom or curiosity. So we need a way to push the player to do more.

3) Conflict. Stories write out a nice conflict for the character to face. Usually a simple good vs evil theme these days. I''m sticking with the simple man vs man style found in most RPGs. Man vs himself is nice, but requires the game designer to dictate some of how the game character behaves, so infringes on the player control.

In order to generate conflict you either need competition for limited resources (or the illusion thereof), some sort of direct opposition / personal feud, or ... ?

No character exists in a vaccuum, they have a bit of a backstory like the rest of the world. But if we avoid dictating the player''s conflicts in the back story and focus on the player''s actions after creation then we have to create conflict by forcing the player to take some action that hinders or compromises an NPC (might be an evil NPC, or a monster) in order to reach the game''s goal.

So before the game has even begun, we have to have NPCs with goals, some of whom will directly compete with the player''s goals. More precisely, we need NPCs to conflict with the player NO MATTER WHICH ACTION THE PLAYER TAKES TO GET TOWARDS THE GOAL. These of course might be different NPCs.

Hmm. This is getting interesting.

It sounds like some solid world-building would be required. And some excellent NPC character writing.

4) No plot points means that some players won''t get a fixed pre-scripted message or a certain key. There need to be other options. Indeed, most pen and paper GMs allow players to come up with creative solutions to existing hurdles. That is not to say get rid of keys or sealed off areas, but the game cannot stop because the player can''t get to that area, and there ought to be multiple ways past the gate, in case the player has accomplished some action that makes it unlikely or even impossible to get the right key. This doesn''t mean the alternates have to be easy, though.

What else?
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(Who said Landfish never contributes with any of his own ideas )

This could potentially work w/ the collecting so many gold pieces or collecting so many treasures as long as there are many different ways to attain the treasure (which is what you were probably saying anyway).

There was a text-based adventure game called Zyll I used to love. It had a story in the sense of in the beginning it explained why you're there and what you had to do. You had to collect 4 of the many treasure and the black orb to return home. It relied on exploration mostly, but different classes had different advantages, so the experience was quite different depedning upon class.

So there was no narrative in the sense that the story grew as you played and you found out more about it. Although, it still had a setup, conflict, and resolution, so LF may consider it a story. I'm talking more of narrative I suppose. It was fairly open-ended. You could explorer whatever parts in whatever order.

So, if you went straight for the goal of collecting the treasures (assuming you knew where they were and I did after playing the game 3,000 times a day) the game could end rather fast where if you explored other parts of the game it could take quite a long time and allow you many interesting experiences.




"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 27, 2000 12:48:41 PM
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quote:
Original post by Nazrix

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.



Ah, I see. That''s an interesting thought. My development process doesn''t work in such a way that genre terms could interfere with creativity, but I can see how that might be a problem for someone.
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I think that now we each understand one another. Creativity can be hampered while trying to stick firmly in one subject. I have always suffered for not being creative and stepping outside the bounds of the genres [or the octahedron ]. A good example of working cross-genre (well, within a commonish genre) is Dune. By all standards it is a Fantasy novel, though it is set in the Sci-fi universe. This is a good example and I would like to make a dune inspired game (no, I don''t want dune, I want a cross-genre game where the ''cross-genre'' part was inspired by dune). Star wars was another fantasy and sci-fi hybrid, though I don''t think that it had as good a story...

I want games to take the steps into cross-genre for sure in a definitive step. No more holding back or scraping at the edges, let us go head first into a new era of gaming where freedom of thought advances everyones enjoyment and understanding. This is what we need and we shall have it if we all understand that the limitations that are applied to us are applied by ourselves. We need not be hindered by such limitations any longer as we are now aware that we can do better without them...

Enough ranting

-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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Hmmm...that AP really smelled like a Landfish, but I couldn''t imagine you talking about a game w/ no story like that.

Well, I take back my statement about Landfish having original ideas then j/k

Well, whoever that AP was, nice ideas


"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 like the idea of some non-story goal. It frees the player to have loose experiences w/out the potential constictions of a conhesive story.

Perhaps, the player could choose from 3 or 4 goals allowing more replayabiltity. One goal could be material wealth while another could be for power another could be knowledge.


"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 say that you could have lots of goals that satisfy winning conditions, and then let the player decide which they think the goal is. Like finding out who they are, slaughtering every goblin in sight, saving the goblin population, slaughtering the human pop...disease (gaia hypothesis ), or overruling either population... or another...

Hmmm,

-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 I like that much better, dwarf


"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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Just thinking about your ''general'' concequences to story events Naz (and about Delisk''s memory game) and I was thinking that if you enter in the wrong combination, then you fall into a dungeon which you must find your way out of. You would find yourself out in some other part of the country/world when you get out and you would continue to a different end...

I am thinking now that the idea has merit

-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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I can''t believe a person would actually deface the true essence of the RPG game genre! The is only one type of classic RPG: the one with the amazing storyline and characters. It''s unfortunate that some people believe that by taking the storyline out of some great game, for instance, Final Fantasy 7, you can make a better game and that this messed pile of characters suspended in space with no beginning and end to their quest is also a great way to portray emotion and personality of a character (hence "role-playing")through conflicts with many differents forces. WRONG!!! The true thoughts of a character can NOT be expressed without a storyline and it would be pointless to attempt to put a character in an evironment that doesn''t develope and to expect the character to develope aside from non-existant plot. (Ex: In FF7, the storyline was what drove the Shinra company to eventually die off, it was the storyline which brought meteor hurdling toward the suffering planet, and it was the storyline which led the pyscho, Sepiroth, to kill Aeris, the last living of the Cetra. Everything in the game was connected to the storyline, and without one, I''m sure, FF7 would be the shame of Square right now).
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I can''t believe a person would actually deface the true essence of the RPG game genre! The is only one type of classic RPG: the one with the amazing storyline and characters. It''s unfortunate that some people believe that by taking the storyline out of some great game, for instance, Final Fantasy 7, you can make a better game and that this messed pile of characters suspended in space with no beginning and end to their quest is also a great way to portray emotion and personality of a character (hence "role-playing")through conflicts with many differents forces. WRONG!!! The true thoughts of a character can NOT be expressed without a storyline and it would be pointless to attempt to put a character in an evironment that doesn''t develope and to expect the character to develope aside from non-existant plot. (Ex: In FF7, the storyline was what drove the Shinra company to eventually die off, it was the storyline which brought meteor hurdling toward the suffering planet, and it was the storyline which led the pyscho, Sepiroth, to kill Aeris, the last living of the Cetra. Everything in the game was connected to the storyline, and without one, I''m sure, FF7 would be the shame of Square right now). The RPG experience is not like reading a book. It''s like living a fantasy with a host of unique individuals whom you control to drive the story forward. This experince can affect your mind critically in many ways, stimulating your imagination with the story of another world or realm (in essence, a fantasy). To say that an RPG MUST have a story is key because like the characters in those classic RPG''s we struggle with something and find a way to express it through their experinces.They are an important tool to finding our own faults, but, without a plot, they are simply pretty piles of garbage with no expression. Don''t take the life out of RPG''s!!!
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Good. I'm glad there are still a few people out there who completely miss the point.


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on November 1, 2000 5:29:50 PM
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yeah dwarf, but the real problem is that people keep opposing the wrong point


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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Quite right naz... so here I go

quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster

I can''t believe a person would actually deface the true essence of the RPG game genre!




Forgetting that us game designers and writers scrapped the idea of genres at least 2 weeks ago? We don''t care for sticking with tradition anyway, [ex-]RPG[-ish]''s SUCK! That is why we propose new ideas!

quote:

The is only one type of classic RPG: the one with the amazing storyline and characters.


There is no ''type'' of classic anything... That is the whole problem with the outlook on games. I am all for stories in games, but I don''t think you are seeing the point. We are saying that there is a PURPOSE to the game, but there is no DEFINED story, in that the player MAKES the story in order to ACHIEVE the PURPOSE. This requires that the game has a loose set of rules and a few different methods of achieving the same goal, possibly on different paths... This is why we don''t think you understand.

I have no problem with [ex-]RPG[-ish] stories, but I would also like to see the alternative... Nuff said

PS, Naz - I am from Tiberia because 1) I also wanted to piss off pouya and 2) eveybody else is doing it, so why not jump on the bandwagon

-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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You should have to be on any certain page for 10 seconds/post before you can add, to ensure that you at least read SOME of it before posting.
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Thanks, dwarfsoft. I didn''t have the energy to go over it again. Basically, AP, we''re not saying RPGs shouldn''t have a story we''re saying that the concept of RPG locks people into a certain idea of what an RPG must be.

We''re not debating the importance of a story. We''re debating the fact that the idea of an RPG (or any genre) makes us as designers locked into specific concept of what an RPG is.

quote:
by dwarfsoft
PS, Naz - I am from Tiberia because 1) I also wanted to piss off pouya and 2) eveybody else is doing it, so why not jump on the bandwagon



Yeah, I am all for pissing off pouya
Maybe we can get the whole forum to do it



"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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quote:
Original post by Landfish

You should have to be on any certain page for 10 seconds/post before you can add, to ensure that you at least read SOME of it before posting.


Yeah really ~LoL~
That''s going into the GDNet suggestions




"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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