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Kekko

Defender o' the weak

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I've always liked being the knight in shining armour. When all my friends thought ogres were awesome in Warcraft 2 I always fought for the human Alliance. Nothing like slaughtering the wicked, be they orcs, bandits, enemy soldiers or dragons. Still, it isn't often I see a game where the great knight is really great. You simply don't feel like a *real* hero for one or more reasons. Those I've come up with are... 1) The people don't recognise you as a hero. After you saved their village, they still charge you 5 gold for a room at the inn, etc. I want festivals and eternal gratitude, dammit! Or at least an "All hail our savior!" once in a while... 2) Usually, you slaughter hordes of evil monsters. Only, you haven't actually seen them do anything evil. They're just waltzing about in their dungeon or whatever. It's like in a movie when they introduce the father who left the family fifteen years ago. The son/daughter/whatever hates him, because he left them in poverty, but we never saw that. We just saw him return and we're only shown his good side. So the audience likes him even though he's a bastard that abandoned his family! I think I'd kill those monsters with more zeal and less "monster=xp" if I caught them in the act of disemboweling innocent people. 3) Often it isn't as rewarding to be a really good guy. From an "experience and loot" point of view, it's simply better to kill the bandits *and* the pesants and then loot them both. Not very heroic, but you'll level up faster. The few games where I've really felt like the good guy are strategy games. Warcraft 1&2 (if you pick the right side, of course) and Fantasy General are the few examples I can think of. So, I've thought of a rough game idea, where the purpose more or less is to really feel like a real shining, armoured hero as you hold the evil forces at bay. The setting will be a fantasy world with little magic but with many creatures. As a lord in the northern fringe lands, you'll have to protect your subjects against monsters, bandits, barbarians and whatevere else lurks in the wilds. It would be a strategy game, in the sense that you must care for villages and outposts and castles. This won't be very advanced however. It's more of a way to make you care for the well being of your lands. Mostly you'll tend to the defences. Patrols, outposts, army training and so on. Then, when the orcs attack an outpost, you charge out to relive them. Before a battle, unless you're ambushed, you're shown the "battle plan screen", where you can make up a battle plan which means you organize your soldiers into battle groups and give each group an inital position, aggresiveness, mission, etc. These orders can be relatively detailed. If you're ambushed however, your soldiers will be in column formation along the road, probably. During battles you would move your own character only. Your soldiers can be given rough orders (attack, retreat, hold, follow) during battle, but you can also make up new orders and "order macros" in an order editor. Still, many things cannot be changed unless you regroup, i.e. fall back to "battle plan" stage. Since it will be about great deeds in battle, morale should be an important factor. If soldiers start to panic and flee, the only way to get them back is to retreat and regroup. Your own character provides a small or vast morale bonus, depending on reputation etc. Trusted knights, officers, priests and so on can do the same. Moralise is penalized if anyone of these falls, of course. Character death shouldn't mean the end of the game. Last stands, buying refugees more time etc. should be valid options in a heroic game. So I'm thinking that perhaps the player could simply play as his successor if he dies. Of course, if the character dies, he wouldn't be left there to rot. He'd get a bigass funeral, worthy of a hero! He'd be buried in a maosuleum where his deeds would be inscribed in a stone wall for all eternity (high score?). Ack, it's late, I've got to stop. I think this is a fun idea that might or might not be made real. But it's fun to think about it anyways. Comments appreciated! EDIT: Oops, got kinda long...

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Then again, what is the good or the evil side?

You can't define that properly by viewing only one side of the story, you have to also see it as a whole. Let's take WoW for example:

The Horde hate the Alliance, reason? Alliance races were first attacked by several Horde races. The Alliance managed to hold them back and eventually were attacking the Horde.
Which motives did the Horde have to attack Alliance? They were controlled by either demon magic or sheer necessity.
Why did the Alliance attack the Horde after their successfull defense? Mainly so they could prevent them from coming back later and having revenge.

Both were fights for survival, you cannot condone the alliance for defending themselves and then trying to eliminate a possible threat, just like you can't condone the Horde for attacking out of sheer necessity for survival or due to being manipulated.

I do agree that the fact that 80% of the time you kill things you're just told "They're evil, kill them.", but that's part because each side views things differently, still it'd be nice to happen stuff like "Captain Picard has recently been seen to the hills to the northeast practicing arcane rituals, investigate." and then finding out he was doing nothing wrong.
Quests need to become more than just "Find a nuclear bomb and give it to me.", "Become a Hero: Kill 1050 wolves." and more like "Discover what hidden secrets this strange person in our village has." or "Follow the river up to the waterfall and talk to the hermit there.".

Anyway, staying on topic:

The idea might be interesting, but you'd have to provide reasons for the player to become attached to things, make the player think "Damnit, they killed George" instead of "Damn, I lost a peasant, oh well, 10 seconds and 120 gold and I'll have it back". Try to provide reasons besides "They are mean, they attack us and destroy our stuff.", make the player find out why they are attacking him, maybe an ancient feud between royal families? or maybe it's simple necessity? don't make the player dismiss someone just because he seems "evil". Also, do not make the character act as just a last stand measure, make it unique, make each character have a different effect on the game.

Well, I think and hope that's all. :)

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In real life, good&evil is a point of view, of course.
I liked your points on survival. I think my point is not about who's evil or not, it's about who's good/heroic or not.
The bandits that are attacking are not evil, they're probably just starving, desperate people who need to get food to survive. Same with monsters and whatnot. But my people are also desparate to keep their hard earned food to survive. It's about survival. And as a protector of your people, you have to ensure that your people survive. This is your ultimate goal. Defender o' the Weak and all that. And from the peasant point of view, which is the one you'll be seeing, you will be a hero. Provided that you're doing your job of course...

This wasn't very clear in my first post, but you're not necessarily supposed to see the enemies as evil. They're just trying to live as everyone else. Not anymore evil than wolves or other predators.

About attachment...
One thing that always works very good for me is to make each soldier unique (of course) and give them a history. First some randomly generated data that should have some kind of impact on the game. Small things that create the sense of a living world. If a soldier is married, spawn a crying widow in town if he dies.

Random name: Auruk Hillsmoon
Random Age(+time with you): 32
Marital status: Married, 2 children
Joined: Spring 459
Rank: Shieldman
Battles fought: Greenvale, 459, wounded
Siege of Merrick's Peak, 461, promoted.
RandomSeed: 184463

That shouldn't be too much data to handle, even if you have hundreds or thousands of soldiers. I'm vaguely inspired by XCom here.
I think that if the game makes a big deal of someone dying, you'll do it to.
But it shouldn't be a *too* big deal so that everyone just reloads when someone dies. I want something in between.

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While your point is correct, viewing from a classic perspective of right/wrong, a true hero should never expect to be compensated by his doing... A hero does what he must... Of course this is from a classic perspective... Hero's are egocentric and enforce their own will upon others and are cheered only for those who think alike... I myself prefer warriors... Warriors, not soldiers... There are several kinds of warriors...

But from a game point it would be funny if someone acknowledge you as their hero and would want to go with you and do stuff with you (and no... not just a party... Civilians that would like to fight and go to adventures as well, and stuff like healing you, givinig you food, stay in their house...).

Also, I think that the idea of a bonus for having a hero in a battle was already implemented by some games...

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What's with all the Nietzscheans? Of course there's good and evil! Good guys wear shiny equipment and have neatly trimmed facial hair, while bad guys wear black gear and speak with raspy, unpleasant languages. Duh.

I thought Zelda: Ocarina of Time did a really terrific job of making me feel like an awesome hero, even though people still charged me for bombs. You go into the future and the place is trashed, but when you clear the lake dungeon, the lake gets pretty. When you whack the boss of the volcano, the Gorons are released and enjoy your company back in town. By the end of the game, the once-dark and lousy world has been cleaned up and improved except for the blemish that is Ganondorf's castle. So you go there and kick his butt.

I think with a little more effort and story, such a linear action adventure game could really rock. I'd like to see a game where the first half of the game is you saving the kingdom, and then you get a job as a royal retainer, and the rest of the game is you working for the king. In the beginning, you're a plucky youth with nothing to recommend you, but as time goes by you become a near-invincible warrior, you get dressed in some fancy gear, and you are so famous that you don't even have to draw your sward to win fights. They see you and surrender, and maybe ask for your autograph on their way to the local magistrate's office.

This discussion reminds me of the old story about the riot in Oklahoma. Some kind of demonstration or celebration had turned violent, and the local law enforcement officers were being overwhelmed. They called for help from the Texas Rangers, and twenty minutes later a truck pulls up and a man gets out wearing a Ranger's badge. "They only sent one of you?!?" asked the local official. "You only have the one riot, right?" the Ranger replied.

Haw! One riot, one Ranger.

So yeah, your idea is a good one.

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Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage

I think with a little more effort and story, such a linear action adventure game could really rock. I'd like to see a game where the first half of the game is you saving the kingdom, and then you get a job as a royal retainer, and the rest of the game is you working for the king. In the beginning, you're a plucky youth with nothing to recommend you, but as time goes by you become a near-invincible warrior, you get dressed in some fancy gear, and you are so famous that you don't even have to draw your sward to win fights. They see you and surrender, and maybe ask for your autograph on their way to the local magistrate's office.


Thats what I'm talking about. I like the way Fantasy General feel. You command your army liberating the entire world. That's heroic on a grand scale! The way I'm thinking here would be that you start out as a young "natural leader", sort of. You lead your group of friends to protect your village against bandits, militia/guerilla style. Perhaps you get weapons and after a while you can fend of larger bands that demand tribute from the village. People look to you as their leader, and in time you'll command a village militia, setting up patrols and keeping the village safe. Then you'll command the local military forces. Perhaps this task is assigned to you by the lord of the land, who's becoming to old to do it himself. And finally you'll be asked to command the newly formed Royal Army of the North, tasked with making the northern border secure once and for all.

Or something like that.

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"Before a battle, unless you're ambushed, you're shown the "battle plan screen", where you can make up a battle plan which means you organize your soldiers into battle groups and give each group an inital position, aggresiveness, mission, etc. These orders can be relatively detailed.
If you're ambushed however, your soldiers will be in column formation along the road, probably.

During battles you would move your own character only. Your soldiers can be given rough orders (attack, retreat, hold, follow) during battle, but you can also make up new orders and "order macros" in an order editor. Still, many things cannot be changed unless you regroup, i.e. fall back to "battle plan" stage."

I especially like this idea of planning a battle and then commanding it while fighting in it. It's a good way to mix strategy and role-playing. Also planning a battle, but not being omnipotent/omniscient during it would provide a different strategy experience than a regular RTS.

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For a game with semi-decent in-game troop controls that don't screw up your running and shooting, take a look at Freedom Fighters. It's easy enough to set up temporary strongholds, send individual soldiers to do individual tasks, and regroup when TSHTF, but it does take a little getting used to.

Republic Commando is more elegant, but only really works with small teams. I guess a happy medium could be found between RC, FF and the Rainbow Six-type command system.

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Those games look awfully cool, I wish I had an xbox or playstation...

I too have always wanted a game where there's lots of options **when you have the time to use them**! As a side effect, it's also pretty realistic.

While battle planning, not only should you be able to position your soldiers, but also set out waypoints and create relatively complicated maneuver scripts. This way you can have for example, some cavalry in the rear, with scripted orders to flank the enemy on both sides. Then, if the opportunity presents itself, you only have to iniate your home made order "CavalryFlankingCharge" with the press of a button.

I think this would be great in multiplayer, as the battle of wits would be both before the battle, planning one step ahead of the enemy, and half during the battle, where there'll be more improvisation, chaos and a lot less control.

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