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JasRonq

RPG human gender differences

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I'm designing an RPG and am trying to figure out a way to balance differences in stats and other aspects between genders. For instance, males are stronger, so what should females realistically get more of in balance? I'll leave the question open to whatever ideas, not specifically in the context of my current game design. [Edited by - JasRonq on October 3, 2007 9:24:00 AM]

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If they're good looking I would say charisma. I know I'd do more for a female than a male any day. If you've got something like a luck factor you could increase that and chalk it up to "woman's intuition". Maybe they are bargain shoppers and get discounts when buying things from the local market.

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Trading off strength and charisma is traditional, and more or less realistic.

But that's not a significant improvement over making the difference purely cosmetic. The more interesting RPGs will change dialog options, quest opportunities, etc. based on gender. Playing a female in Vampire: Bloodlines was particularly advantageous, due to more opportunities to use the seduction skill to manipulate people in dialog, and some, uh, more explicit opportunities.

You could also have, say, a religious order that you could join only as a female. I wouldn't be concerned too much about tit-for-tat balancing of these kinds of things, but rather using them to make your game world a little more engaging.

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I've met a ton of males that were pathetic enough in the strength category to know gender isn't an automatic determination of stats. It might be okay to lean randomized male strength slightly higher than females, but it should be insignificant enough to allow some random females to be stronger than some males.

I would do the same with the female attribute. Many females have better agility and flexibility/mobility than males. Not always, but probably on average.

In the end, the difference will probably be so miniscule that it's barely noticable. I didn't even bother to differentiate between genders for abilities in my own project. But mine is set in the future. I can imagine that a caveman game may want to employ more dramatic differences. As you go into the future, the difference between genders becomes less significant. Mainly because of the transition males seem to be going through, becoming more feminine.

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Even in a caveman style setting, its more lack of conditioning due to difference in general role in society than a physical difference.

The thing to remember with an RPG, especially a traditional fantasy style RPG where the player is cast as an "adventurer", is that the player characters are generally intended to be unusual, and usually above average.

While there are differences in the general development of the potential strength of males and females, there is a lot of overlap, where a strong female can out-muscle a weak male, etc. Except for cases where youre talking about either a perfect specimen of strength, or a decidedly below average character, the chances of a female existing that has equal strength to any given male are pretty high.

Therefore, in a system like an RPG, where the idea is generally to let the player create the character that suits their own design, it seems rather counter-productive to abitrarily limit what you can create on the basis of "its not quite as likely".


Id agree with drakostar... I think its much more meaningful to change the options available to characters in terms of interaction, than to limit the physical aspects of the characters.

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Most games give females better abilities with magic, and/or makes them more agile to balance with males being stronger.

For my RPG though, I wanted to make things a little different. It is generally agreed upon that women endure pain better than men, so I thought I would make women more defensive and men more offensive. As a result, men would have higher strength, accuracy, and magic power, while women would have better evasion, magic resistances, and hit points. I like this approach because not only it balances pretty well, but it seems to matches the general personalities of both genders. (Obviously, I'm generalizing BIG TIME in that last sentence!)

Another point of balance could be equipment. Squaresoft used to have a big habit of making feminine equipment (dresses, skirts, barrettes, ribbons, perfumes, etc) hugely overpowered. In FF:Tactics, that alone sufficed to make Agrias just as good as Orlandu even though the latter had a FAR, FAR better class. I don't suggest you go this far in buffing female equipment, but it could serve as a balancing point if you don't know how to compensate for the guys' higher strength.

Anyway, I think it's better to match the abilities and proficiency of a character to its character class rather than gender. In my RPG, I balance my characters depending on what they are in a fight, not on aesthetics. For example, for a "warrior" character, I hate the overused stereotype of the big, ugly and stupid barbarian with a big axe and thin head who is incapable of anything besides being Her Majesty's first rank face smasher; in my RPG, for a change, I wanted the "warrior" character to be a beautiful (but tough!) lady. But I'm not going to take a single point off her gargantuan strength stat just because of her lack of testosterone: she needs those stats to work as a playable character, and that's all that matters for game design. So yeah, Class before gender. (or age, for that matter, as old people are even more stereotyped than girls in videogames.) If you want to systematically give your guys more strength, give them classes that will benefit from strength, and give the girls classes that don't.

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Quote:
Original post by Bearhugger
Most games give females better abilities with magic, and/or makes them more agile to balance with males being stronger.


Could you give a few examples? Im interested what genre that sort of trend is found in. I play quite a few rpgs, and havent noticed any that follow that trend... D&D based rpgs, and all the blizzard rpgs i can think of, for example, all make a point of having no gameplay differences between the sexes.

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Quote:
Original post by HumanoidTyphoon
you cant hit a woman!!

You can if you're a woman.

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I dislike the idea of differences in stats between genders. Mainly because I like my avatar to be male, but rarely go for the same class of character twice.
I don't want to have to put up with being wolf-whistled by builders just to be able to dodge a bit quicker. At the very least provide some in-game gender reassignment surgeons who could help people out.

A couple of other thoughts:
1)
I want to suggest again the idea of being born with a natural talent. Unique to the player, not a gender or species. So the player can districute a set number of points for various skills etc, but can also lump a large number of points on a chosen skill.

2)
There is never any reward for the all rounder, other than having moderate skill in each area. - I'll start another thread...

[Edited by - thelovegoose on October 1, 2007 9:02:52 AM]

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