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Trapper Zoid

Brainstorming: what do you like about RPGs?

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I'm designing a game that can be best described as a strategy management game (like SimCity, RollerCoaster Tycoon etc.) set in a fantasy RPG environment. Since I'd like my game to appeal to the widest possible audience, I'd like the game to appeal to both RPG and strategy management fans. Therefore I'd like to make the RPG mechanics to be as simple as possible while still capturing the elements that endear the genre to fans. So since I know many of you are RPG fans as well as designers, I was wanting to brainstorm the aspects of game design in RPGs that you enjoy (and think many other people enjoy as well) that would not alienate other players who are not hardcore. Since my design is in its early stages I'm looking for a general brainstorm of ideas. I don't mind if you list absolutely any aspects at all that you think are great; little things like the feasibility to implement them I'll deal with later [smile]. So, what is it about RPGs that you enjoy?
Here's a summary of what ideas I've got from you so far: Reactive Storytelling/World to Player Actions (5 counts) Character Development/Growth (4 counts) Custom Character Creation (4 counts) Customisable Equipment/Diversity of Items/Crafting (4 counts) Character Interaction (3 counts) Quality Story (3 counts) Deep/Interesting/Strategic Combat System (3 counts) Interesting mini-game activities (hunting, gardening etc.) (2 counts) Quality World Design (2 counts) Real-time Interactive Combat (1 count) Player Freedom to Follow Storyline (1 count) Friendly to Exploration (1 count) Non-cliche Storyworld (1 count)
A more detailed list of individual responses. Telastyn: Character Development: creating characters and watching them grow (as well as town development) (most people like) Crafting ]XWampireX: Deep and compelling story, that is reactive to player choices Character interaction and growth Interactive combat (real time, twitch based) Good world layout Wavinator: Freedom to choose whether or not to explore the story Geography or levels that accomodate and reward exploration Combat system (if included) that has multiple dependencies and vulnerabilities (especially status effects) World history, characters, races not derived straight from Tolkein Customisation/improvement of equipment (but not at expense of stores) Non-combat activities/minigames (such as hunting, flirting, arena combat) World that reacts to where I've been and what I've been doing Optional Combat Gardening Character Customisation Shopping Anonymous Poster 1: Character growth (both levels and personality) Different abilities/spells/weapons with different strategic uses Customising (in general) Kest: Evolution of characters and story Fournicolas: Interacting with other people (PCs and NPCs) and making actions and decisions Story (that is compelling and well paced) Believable world design sunandshadow: Quality World Character Interaction Reactive Storytelling/World Interesting mini-game activities Interesting combat Quality Story Omegavolt: Custom Character Creation Lots of Items Interactive Environments Strategic Battles Anonymous Poster 2: Crafting Systems (a la Legend of Mana) [Edited by - Trapper Zoid on September 9, 2005 2:57:55 AM]

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I am afraid that management simulation and RolePlaying game are two OPPOSING genres.

In the former, you are bound to the "omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God" position, in which you preside over the destiny of the world below, whereas in the latter, you are expecting to live out the fantasies of an individual, with extraordinary capabilities, but nonetheless FEARING most of the ennemies. You are alsso expecting to fulfil quests, given to you by people fearing the wilderness or contact with other NPC people even more.

In fact, attempting to put both genres in only ONE game looks suspiciously dangerous.

Unless you intend to make of your playing character the ruler of a small country, or part of a country, and have him manage the resources, in order to skip some adventuring. The adventuring could be made in orde to help momentarily the management, by gathering resources very fast?

Let me explain.

As the Lord-Mayor and Protector of Dumblepulgeese, small village on the North shore of that white and foamy river, you may have to manage things in order to make your village grow. You may want to advise population to grow more crops, learn new trades, import some things, initiate trade, whatever. But when comes the time where the commercial routes are regularly raided by the same band of Orcs, you leave your office, grab your sword, and go back to skull-bashing. Plus once you've got your gold and stuff back, you still can redistribute it to your village, and help the growth.

A plague of rats? Will you raise the taxes to hire a ratcatcher, or will you go out and try to kill them all?

A pack of wolves killing the lambs from your people? Will you make them build wals or will you go a-hunting?

The people from your village are beginning to be sick and tired of Friday Night Cabbage-Eater Contest? Will you send a demand for a group of musicians to come, or will you go and drag them there? If they wanted to come, but weren't able, due to danger, would you go and rid them of the danger, accompanying them, or would you hire a party of your villagers to help them come?



As you see, RPG is a genre of first-person adventure, or at worse, third-person view of first-person adventures. YOU are having fun killing things, getting a better equipment and better stats... whereas management simulation is a genre in which equipment only matters when you're talking about roads and mills... Plus I can't imagine a QUEST in SimCity...

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If there was one special character in the game that the player can control from an RTS perspective, and can only dish out orders to others through that character, instead of doing it all from the 'God' position, I'd think that could work.

So you tell your man-on-the-ground to get a barracks built, he goes off and rounds up the people to make it happen, and basically project manages the whole thing.

If he should get killed, you have 2 options:

1) Be able to select another person to take over this role. However they'd have a lower leadership level because of lack of experience.

2) Game Over.

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Fournicolas your explaination sounds to me as though it could actually be alot of fun if done correctly and plus it'll be different to alot of the stuff currently out there.

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Well, mainly, the idea comes from Might&Magic 7, where your first task is to win a contest and inherit a castle somewhere. When you get to the castle, it is infested with goblins, and in ruins. And then, you find yourself in the middle of a war of influence between two major countries to win your county and castle. You have to undertake a grand quest to favor one of two countries, or, if you are clever and quick, win the right to be a separate country. I think that, if it had included a more active Mayor role, with taxes levies, some more politics, and public welfare, it would have made me thrill.

Plus, if you could do it so that the time spent in First-person Role-playing was real-time, whereas the time spent as Lord-Mayor was going faster, so that you don't have to wait for a whole year before seeing the crops come out of ground, it would probably be a lot more fun. And while you are out adventuring, the time still runs for the people in your hometown, and life goes on...

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I think it'd work fine.

4X games, tactics games, populous style games, even sim city games already done [like stronghold] work well with Fantasy.

Anyways, I like character development. Both in creating characters and watching them grow. That character growth would go along well with the town/castle growth that I love with SC/RCT style games.

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A game like that wouldn't really be called an RPG, since RPG in the first place implies Role Playing Game, a game with a grand story where you play a role (Mostly to defeat a grand villain), what you want is sim city type of game, so it's a simulation game, I just don't know how a simulation game work with an RPG other than perhaps like sims, perhaps? Not a good idea, well, you could try warcraft 3 which is kinda a Real Time Strategy with RPG elements, but it won't really be sim city like, perhaps you gave the wrong examples? I don't see how a sim city like game could be done in an RPG manner since sim city = create cities, populate them and destroy whatever you want, well... Play a god. So you could say it's semi "RPG" like.

I don't know, can you give me some better picture on what you really want to create?

What makes a good RPG is a deep and compelling story where you could follow, but of course, you have a choice and depending on choice you should get different results, this is where the "Role Playing" comes into as well.

As far as gameplay goes, RPGs don't always have to have leveling up (And I don't really see a way to implement it in a Sim City like game...). Try to make a game where you can actually see your "God" in the game and he can tell people to do things, build houses for "him" and worship him and stuff, you could get respect ratio, so if people enjoy how you lead them, they would respect you more, and be able to build better buildings and do better things overall...

I don't really know, just food for thought, it would be hard to implement an RPG system into a Simulation game, but go for it, sounds like it could be something nice if done well!

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To me, the best elements of an RPG are:


  • Freedom to choose whether or not to explore the story
  • Geography or levels that accomodate and reward exploration
  • A combat system (if there is combat) that has multiple dependencies and vulnerabilities, especially in the form of non-combat status effects
  • World history and characters/races that aren't ripped straight from Tolkein (for the love of variety, not another #*#@ dark elf...give me stagecoach robbing dragoncats with wips and halberds or something!)
  • Customization / improvement of equipment (such as with slots or by imbuing it with magic), but not so much that stores are worthless
  • Repeatable non-combat activities (often considered minigames) such as hunting, or charming the ladies or arena combat (why we don't see tournaments and games more often I just don't understand)
  • Hardest part: A world that reacts to where I've been and what I've been doing


I think for mass appeal you can never go wrong with optional combat, gardening, character customization and shopping.

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Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
To me, the best elements of an RPG are:


  • Freedom to choose whether or not to explore the story
  • Geography or levels that accomodate and reward exploration
  • A combat system (if there is combat) that has multiple dependencies and vulnerabilities, especially in the form of non-combat status effects
  • World history and characters/races that aren't ripped straight from Tolkein (for the love of variety, not another #*#@ dark elf...give me stagecoach robbing dragoncats with wips and halberds or something!)
  • Customization / improvement of equipment (such as with slots or by imbuing it with magic), but not so much that stores are worthless
  • Repeatable non-combat activities (often considered minigames) such as hunting, or charming the ladies or arena combat (why we don't see tournaments and games more often I just don't understand)
  • Hardest part: A world that reacts to where I've been and what I've been doing


I think for mass appeal you can never go wrong with optional combat, gardening, character customization and shopping.


I agree, but the question remains... How could someone create a Simulation game with RPG elements? :)

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*cough*

Quote:
Original post by spacemonkeystudios
If there was one special character in the game that the player can control from an RTS perspective, and can only dish out orders to others through that character, instead of doing it all from the 'God' position, I'd think that could work.

So you tell your man-on-the-ground to get a barracks built, he goes off and rounds up the people to make it happen, and basically project manages the whole thing.

If he should get killed, you have 2 options:

1) Be able to select another person to take over this role. However they'd have a lower leadership level because of lack of experience.

2) Game Over.


Simulation/RTS game, with an RPG twist, hopefully...

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