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RPGs

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Learn to make an RPG by first learning to write well, and include lots of details in your writing.

Then find a group of friends and play table top games. You can do this online, but most will likely agree it is more fun in person. I'm personally not a fan of using in character voice, or much first person characters, but to each their own.

Then decide: Do you really want to make these for computers?

If so, learn to program, and expect your first RPG to be at least a year or more away. What language to start with? It doesn't matter, they're all good with different good and bad points to them. I strongly suggest learning Python, as it is easy to pick up and learn to do simple things, and it won't take you too long to move onto learning more complex things in it.

Remember, learning to Program is NOT the same as learning a programming language. Programming is about the theory behind how things work. Understanding the basics like Loops and Logical statements, Data Structures and Data Types. These things work basically the same in all languages that have them, but often look a little different at first.

Remember, RPGs are one of the most expensive (in time, and time equals money) style of games to develop. While really rather simple programming wise, their content takes a LONG time to do for a game of any length.


Another option, if you just want to tell cool RPG stories is pick up a copy of Neverwinter Nights or Morrowind, and use their game design tools to make your own 'game' with those engines. While they limit you a lot, (you will usually be stuck with the systems they have with little room to change how things work) they'll save you a huge amount of time in learning to program and developing content like models and textures. Storyline and that (unless you are doing something really funky) should not be limited by the engine.

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We already had a recent discussion on RPG creation here: http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=440489


There is no place where you go to "learn to program RPGs". First you learn how to program (I recommend a college course, if possible). Then you practice programming by making simple applications that do specific tasks. Then after a couple years of that, maybe you'll be ready to write a program for a full fledged RPG.

Or you could just use RPG Maker XP or one of those applications if you don't have the patience and will to go through months or years (mostly years) of prior study.

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I don't really have the time to give my usual "RPG" rant, but the best thing you can do write now is design an RPG without a written story that is still fun to play. Most people think that the best way to approach designing an RPG is by writing a story, but a story is not a game. If your mindset is "I want to make an RPG because I have this great story to tell", that story will very likely never be told. If your mindset is "I want to make a great role-playing game" you're already on the right track.

The thread Roots linked to has quite a few good discussions about different facets of RPG design and is well worth a read.

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Original post by JBourrie
I don't really have the time to give my usual "RPG" rant, but the best thing you can do right now is design an RPG without a written story that is still fun to play.

I agree 100%. Make a fun interactive game engine of any kind. Then turn it into an RPG. An RPG is just another genre with personal detail added to it. The more detail you add, the more RPG it will become.

Here's some genre examples:

- Car Racing / Space Shooter / Boat Racing: Role-play as a pilot (GTA)
- Boxing / Fighting / Melee Combat: Role-play as a fighter (Morrowind)
- RTS / TBS / Tactical Combat: Role-play as a certain troop, or as the leader (Fallout)
- FPS: Only one possibility, role play as the first person that is shooting [smile] (Deus Ex)

Some RPGs have a lot more G to them than RP (GTA), while others have a lot more RP to them than G (Morrowind). My favorites are those that are in-between them (Deus Ex, Fallout). I personally need a fun game engine with my RPGs. Even with an interesting story and plot development, RPGs with boring game-play aren't usually enough for me anymore.

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Original post by Kest
An RPG is just another genre with personal detail added to it. The more detail you add, the more RPG it will become.

hmmm. Is this some kind of in-joke?

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Original post by Zanshibumi
Quote:
Original post by Kest
An RPG is just another genre with personal detail added to it. The more detail you add, the more RPG it will become.

hmmm. Is this some kind of in-joke?

Not purposely. No joke that I am in. Why? You don't agree?

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Original post by DestinMancer
What do you feel makes the perfect or a great RPG? Also, where can I learn to program RPGs? I'm just a beginner.


Are you asking how to make a perfect anti tank weapon?

If not, then try to play PnP RPGs, then try to implement all you experienced in the game. You'd encounter joys like, NPC interactions, character modeling, city modeling, world building, creating a proper rulesystem, asymmetric out of character computation, and breakable environment.

So you start with creation of a story, and game world and then you'd try to implement it on the computer. You might start with simple top down viewed RPG, to avoid unnecessary graphic work.

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Original post by Roots
There is no place where you go to "learn to program RPGs". First you learn how to program (I recommend a college course, if possible). Then you practice programming by making simple applications that do specific tasks. Then after a couple years of that, maybe you'll be ready to write a program for a full fledged RPG.

I strongly oppose going into college course just to learn how to program this. In standard college course they will at most teach you how to use compiler, and basics (if you would be lucky). However they would expect you'd learn yourself the majority of the programming somehow.

If a person would sit in front of a computer for 3 days, and would try to create working program that would open a window, and move an image, he would learn more than they would teach him in college in two weeks. If such person would try to create a some simple prototype of his program, or try to learn things (algorithms, and data structures) that would be relevant to what he would like to finish, he would do much more in few weeks at home, than he would do at college in more than a half year. Do you remember what YanL said about people that finished university and entered a game development company?

He should definitely try to write programs that have some relevance to his work. If he would like to create a RPG, he should simply try to write the first working program as a RPG. Even if it will show just few things on the screen, it will teach him significantly more than creating a completely unrelated program. After prototype number 12 he might get it right, and he might learn rapid prototyping methodology.

If he will like to be an expert in the field, it will take him 7 years. If he would like to finish a RPG it will take him at most 1.5 years of work (if he would learn during typing).

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Don't downplay the important of a college education. College CS degrees are not programming degrees, true, but that is because programming is largely incidental. The topics covered by a computer science degree are still very valuable and useful if you want to excel.

That said, however, there is no reason to hold off until college to learn to write code, nor is there a reason to take a computer science degree just to learn to program, if you're not actually interested in computer science.

Python is a good first language, and their Documentation section has some excellent "for complete beginners" resources.

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Original post by Raghar
If a person would sit in front of a computer for 3 days, and would try to create working program that would open a window, and move an image, he would learn more than they would teach him in college in two weeks.

I agree. College amounts to little more than homework instructions with tests. There is an instructor there to help you with any problems you have, but that's exactly what the internet and GameDev are for.

Quote:
Original post by jpetrie
The topics covered by a computer science degree are still very valuable and useful if you want to excel.

There are no CS topics that are restricted to college, though. Unless you have a problem keeping yourself motivated to continue learning, college isn't going to help you much. Support, guidance, and a reciept.

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"Perfect" in an RPG... for me... is the attachment to the characters. If all I want to see is what happens to them next then the game is good.

Sure the engine and playability is needed to an extent it's quite secondary to me. I'd play an ASCII graphics RPG if I cared about the characters.

How one would go about making me care, I will not be able to explain. Nor have a million poets over a thousand years have been able to do specifically for me.




As far as where to start programming? Theres about a dozen or so major aspects of an RPG to enter in on... I'd say pick one and start with it. Each is an obstical on it's own.

(Graphics (character/background)(2d/3d), Sound, User Interface, Game Engine (playing/maintaining), Character Design, Backstory, Persistence, coding language)

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I agree. College amounts to little more than homework instructions with tests.

There's quite a lot more there, at a decent school, but you have to be willing to put the effort in. What you get out of college is proportional to what you put in. You can certainly skate by viewing it as "little more than homework with tests," but you've wasted your time and money if so.

Quote:

there are no CS topics that are restricted to college, though.

But the curricula of (good) colleges are designed to expose you to important subjects that you might not consider learning on your own. As a neophyte you have no business judging what is and is not relevant to your education; consider the wealth of people who find algorithm analysis and the related math "useless," and who consequently waste their time micro-optimizing code for a 1% performance gain when an appropriate study of the algorithm could have revealed a better option for a 25% gain.

Colleges can provide you access to resources that you'd have a lot of trouble obtaining otherwise, at a very good price, considering that a degree is practically required to be competitive in the entry-level job market in almost all fields.

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Original post by jpetrie
Quote:

I agree. College amounts to little more than homework instructions with tests.

There's quite a lot more there, at a decent school, but you have to be willing to put the effort in. What you get out of college is proportional to what you put in. You can certainly skate by viewing it as "little more than homework with tests," but you've wasted your time and money if so.

Perhaps you can give those of us who can't stop skating and those of us who are restricted to normal colleges some examples of what else exists.

Quote:
But the curricula of (good) colleges are designed to expose you to important subjects that you might not consider learning on your own.

Which you can consider on your own by taking five minutes to look over a good curricula. They're all over the web, so you don't even have to leave your seat.

Quote:
Colleges can provide you access to resources that you'd have a lot of trouble obtaining otherwise, at a very good price

You can obtain the same resources elsewhere at far better prices. The schedules are free to the public, and the books can be found at nearly any library. Not that this is about money or anything. I just hate giving the false impression that college is some special type of school that grants magical education. It's just as difficult to learn there as it is anywhere else. Resources? Instructors? The internet has made them nearly obsolete. If you need the support or a degree, then by all means, dish out the cash. But from my own experience, there's not much else to gain.

Quote:
considering that a degree is practically required to be competitive in the entry-level job market in almost all fields.

Well that's a good reason to attend college. As long as you're attending for something you actually need, it makes sense.

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Kest, was there some study done saying that the average self taught programmer is as successful as somebody who obtained a CS degree?

I find it very hard to believe that the internet and availablitiy of books has made instructors/teachers obsolete. I guess instead of speaking to people with PHD's and masters degrees I should do online research.. maybe I can discover their hard earned lessons in less than 5-8 years time.

Well, just my 2 cents..

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I take it that the OP is young and more than a little wet behind the ears.

The best advice for him/her is to simply follow thier passions...If you would rather go skateboarding with thier friends then read about the wonders of the XOR opperator...Fine, go tear up the halfpipe. You'll get more out of life following your true intrests then following lies you tell yourself.

Otherwise, punching "program RPG" and "learn to program" into Google will net you terabytes of information. Info that is far more suitable to your investigation then anything we spew forth here. Read, Learn, Practice, eventualy it will make sense.


Because, in all honestly, most of the advice given here so far is rather pointless...and even stupid.

* If you haven't decided that makeing RPGs is a carrer choice(and that is obvious by your post)...Then the whole college/self-taught argument is a waste of bandwidth...College is basicly a completely optional obstacle course. Getting a degree only proves that you have the drive and determination to formaly educate yourself beyond the minimum standard. Employers in big companies, offering big paying jobs, like that and much, MUCH prefer to hire the college educated...It would be a great bit of advice if this website were the domain of industry professionals. However thier are far more hobbist developers here...and you don't need a degree to have a hobby.

* RPGs are a game genre and games are art. If you want to make a Pac-Man clone and call it a RPG, then more power to you...There are far greater crimes against humanity; and there is nothing to stop you from doing so other then the rantings of the self proclaimed "RPG definition guard". All that genre definition crap just gets in the way anyhow...Just make the game YOU would want to play.

End of Line.

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Original post by KungFooMasta
Kest, was there some study done saying that the average self taught programmer is as successful as somebody who obtained a CS degree?

Not that I'm aware of. What do you mean by successful? Earning cash, or employed by a cash-earning company?

Quote:
I find it very hard to believe that the internet and availablitiy of books has made instructors/teachers obsolete.

Only nearly. They do have that "you've paid me, so ask your questions" attitude, which you won't likely find online very often. There are people right here on GameDev.Net whose intelligence blows the wardrobe off of most college instructors that I've met. Users here won't babysit you, but most are willing to guide you back to the correct path when you stray too far from it. If you need help understanding a strange concept, you'll find much better results here than by asking one important person for their advice.

Quote:
I guess instead of speaking to people with PHD's and masters degrees I should do online research.. maybe I can discover their hard earned lessons in less than 5-8 years time.

You can speak to and read articles from millions of people with PHD's and masters degrees by doing online research.

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Back on topic:

You should use a good program to start off with, just starting with notepad will take a while you see. I'm sure you can find a good program somewhere that will help you teach the basic steps of Game Making, practice generally pays off.

just my 2 cents.

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Original post by Talroth
Learn to make an RPG by first learning to write well, and include lots of details in your writing.


Bzzzt! Wrong answer!

Storyline is nearly pointless in a game. Make a fun game, because there's already a lot of good stories out there. They're called books. Anyone who thinks RPG's are about plodding through a story with disgustingly mediocre gameplay...well, I don't want to finish that sentence.

I like an enjoyable story in a game, but you know what I like about games? Playing a good game. RPG's should be about progressively complex systems.

So even if you've got a "good story," think about how to make a fun game first. That's your goal.

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