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suliman

open rpg in deserts?

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hi im doing a topdown action-rpg where you drive around in a mad-max like desert world, shooting pirates, mining, trading, fighting the army, raiding convoys. Small settlement are scattered around and offers traders, upgrades and missions. My idea is to let the player advance/grow choosing whatever path he chooses, not to following a strict line of missions. A game like eve online is very open. There is no campaign-missions like in freelancer or darkstar one. But eve is instead based around real player interaction. My game will have no network. So would it still work? With more or less exclusively random missions, mining etc. Im thinking on having several areas/worlds that needs to be unlocked to progress, much like in diablo 2. What others tips do you have concerning the exitement in a single player, non-story driven rpg like this? And also, do you have ideas on what actions/ways to prosper can be available in a setting like this? Thanks in advance Erik

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I'd imagine that unique content would be essential to keeping the player interested.
As far as quests, I would advise against randomly generated ones. If a player repeatedly runs errands, or destroys a settlement of X bad guys, or other bland sets of quests, I would put the combat aspect first and the questing/mining/gathering aspect second.

I do agree that giving the player as many options as possible is the best approach for such an open-ended game. It would be especially good if the player actually had some goal set to work towards (as motivation). They wouldn't have to move towards that goal, but it would be encouraging if they could see their own progress in perspective.

On the specifics of 'secondary' things such as mining.. you'll want to make them as fun as possible. You can mix it with combat by having a mine guarded by an enemy, waiting for you to take control of it (or other mechanisms). If the secondary things aren't fun, people won't do them.

Games like WoW have a great advantage in that they can make the 'journey' rather bland, yet people will work at it in order to have more power. Working on gaining power isn't that fun, having it is. Single player games like this will not get by relying on the player's contentment once they have the increased power. Both getting and having increased power must be fun.

I think the most important things are that the player has something that they can work toward and that the journey there will be fun and entertaining. Even in an open-ended world, if there is nothing to work towards.. the player will quickly begin to ask why it is he is playing the game. I think Diablo and Diablo 2 are excellent models, as seemingly bland combat mechanics (click, click, click, etc.) and randomly generated maps (done very well, though) are made interesting by increasing advancement, items, and abilities. For single player Diablo(1/2), you don't really have to 'grind'.

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I can only speak for myself, but I think that while lack of a campaign in an MMO is bad, in a single-player game it's inexcusable. It's the player's choice to roam around, but if there's no overall campaign that I can return to, I'll quickly get bored with the game. You need to tell a story to keep me interested, even if I may not always choose to follow that story or take breaks in between.

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With the Mad Max (ish) theme you should incorporate the quirkyness and humor that made that genre interesting. Whats more fun than blowing the #$%^&* out of a gang of brigands all wearing mickey mouse hats (or bunny ears)??? Strange dialog and props is the ticket.......

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but eve online has NO story. Freelancer had a story which sucked etc. I will have some overhead goal like overthrow the army or something and smaller worlds that needs to be "completed". I just want the path to get enough power to complete a world will be pretty much open.

I like in the game "gun" how mining was something you had to keep your ayes open for during your action missions as a sort of side-action. Its boring if you need to specialice and just go back and fourth with a large mining-vessel and do noting more then mining (like in eve).

It might also be hard to make random missions deverse and interesting. I remember they were a cathastrophy in freelancer and darkstar one. In diablo 2 they are kinda funny, but they are hard-coded and also pretty few...

There will be some cowboy / western theme. You can drink liquer to boost morale of your goons (those who shoot from the windows) or give them drugs to "slow down the world".

E

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Quote:
Original post by suliman
but eve online has NO story.

Oh yes it does. It's just provided by the players.

You can't really compare a MMO and a RPG.
As was already said, in a singleplayer game, where you don't have thousands of other people to keep you busy, you want a storyline/campaign to give direction to the game.

Think about it. Eve doesn't have a campaign. And exactly how much fun is it to exclusively play the random generated missions there?
None at all. It helps a bit that you can do them with others (which you can't in a singleplayer game), or that you get rewards that will help you later in PVP or other social parts of the game (which yours wont have either)

Quote:

I will have some overhead goal like overthrow the army or something and smaller worlds that needs to be "completed". I just want the path to get enough power to complete a world will be pretty much open.

Look at Fallout for a lesson in how to make an open-ended RPG without just saying "yeah but I don't need to make a campaign, you can have a few random-generated missions"

Quote:
It might also be hard to make random missions deverse and interesting. I remember they were a cathastrophy in freelancer and darkstar one. In diablo 2 they are kinda funny, but they are hard-coded and also pretty few...

Of course. Unless you've got some truly revolutionary mission-generator, you will get the same results. People just don't want to play random-generated missions that don't tie into a storyline or anything, unless it rewards them with something that they can use later, in more meaningful activities. But if your entire game is based around random generated missions, then there are no meaningful activities to look forward to and prepare for.

Quote:
So would it still work?

From what you've described? NO
What you're suggesting is taking all the weak points from MMO's (all the stuff that'd suck if not for the social aspect of the game), and port them to a singleplayer game, which means you also get the weak points from singleplayer games (no other players to be social with)

No, combining the weak points from two different genres is not a path to success.

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oh man that was harsh:)

but why is diablo such a fun game? There is not much of a story that actually has a lot with gameplay to do. Kill satan! What was rewarding with it was mostly discover new stuff and gain power.

A lot of games has no more to it then "win". But most of them has strategic elements in them, and i think it can work with that.

An idea is to have the story evolve around the different factions, and have a lot of info about them and how these factions interact. The player can them work for different factions which can change the tides of politics etc.

GTA 1 and 2 didnt have any story more then "you need to get rich". It didnt update this story in any noticable way during the game, still you felt you evolved and growed in the gameworld as the game progressed. Im aiming for that "arcade-rpg" feeling.

My goal is not to "save time" by not having to "do a campaign" (what is that anyway? Have a story? Make linked missions?). I simply feel that many games throw in a cliché "story" just becouse they are supposed to while i more often think: why cant i do that or that? That would give me money!

Also the idea is to play with a friend on the same keyboard.

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Is the gameplay fun?
Are the quests enthralling (or even little mini stories within the world)?
Are there various, overall objectives (rule the land, rule the economy, run your own city)?

If the answer is yes to all of the above, your game sounds good. I don't remember there being an objective to The Sims and it's one of the best selling games of all time.

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You don't need a story or a main plot as long as you have a fun grind system and large goals. You need a lot of goals with rewards. Some goals, nearly unreachable.

Use The Sims as an example. I hate that game. But the first few hours I enjoyed of it were because of the endless obtainable goals. Aspirations, skills, job advancements, children, family, friends. Some players set their own goals, such as making enough money to build the perfect house, or woohooing all of the women in a neighborhood. I would suggest a similar goal-motivated design, but with things more related to your theme.

With that said, I devote my life to finding and playing games such as these. Fallout was more or less exactly what we're discussing. Yeah, there was a water chip replacement to worry about, but no one really played for that. It did give a sense of meaning to roaming the desert, though.

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