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Project Archon-Feedback Appreciated

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I want feedback on the gameplay of this project, so I will ignore everything else for now. Note: This idea will be purely theoretical until I decide I have received enough feedback and finish polishing it. Type: Single-player Gameplay It should be made clear that this is a medieval fantasy Action RPG. The action is real time, twitch-based. I plan to allow more roleplaying in this than in most other role playing games. I.e There are over a dozen different professions you can choose to be, each with its own full-blown systems. For example, merchants would rejoice at the detailed trading system, while warriors would glory at the dramatic comabat system. The game world is split into countries, which are split into states, which are split into cities. Most of these areas have their own governments, which make decisions regarding politics, their region, and diplomacy/war. These governments have certain attitudes toward you, which will change based on your actions. This reaches to the extent where you can either be attacked on sight or praised by the common people. The dramatic combat system includes parries, slashes, lunges, stabs, uppercuts, and downward slashes. The animations are mildly exaggerated to add to the "feel" of the combat. "Blue mist" allows you to repair and strengthen weapons in real-time, allowing for an expensive, but quick method of fixing equipment. But this is where the "fantasm" ends. Enough realism has been implemented to allow adversaries to one-hit-kill you in the beginning. Nearing the end, however, you will be a powerhouse, if you are careful with time allocations. Weapon enchantments and strengtheners are powerful tools, which allow them to match up to even magic. Magic will tie in with fantastic religions, and is measured with the substance "red mist". This "mist" allows you to build towers out of the ground in seconds, burn down large sections of villages, and absorb souls. This epic power is not without repurcussions, however. Magic is highly unpredictable. You never know when that powerful fireball will burst out of you, or a tower will grow from your body, or your own soul will be ripped from your body. :) Your goal in the game is merely to shape the world, through preservation or destruction, by completing side quests, discovering ruins, and anything else that can shape your story. There are no "good guys or bad guys", so you are free to establish your own position in the world... Now to intersect more deeply with the story. You play as an ex-professor of mathematics and...the arts of war. (Yes, mathematics. The purpose will be revealed in time.) His iq level is probably somewhere near 200 (haha.). Well, anyway, he is a quick-thinking, clever, and strong man. He has been mystically engineered with a whole roomful of purple mist(or rather, powered) to have metahuman strength, and quite a good amount of speed. His main weapon is a sword, which he uses to swipe excessively large demons and antagonist humans into and through the air. So, as you can guess, he has some kind of bias against all the dark /light creatures of the world and uses his advantages (superhuman strength, great speed, clever thinking, courageousness, powerful equipment) to combat/use diplomacy. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- My specific questions to you now are: -How do you feel about the combat and magic systems? -Is the premise of the game innovative in any way, in your opinion? -Humor is an integral part of the game-how do you think it should be implemented, along with drama? Is it needed? -How should realism be implemented? -The world is to feel like a living, breathing world. Unfortunately, we are limited by hardware. How do you think the world can feel like so? I understand the lack of details, but that issue will be held back until I receive feedback regarding it. [Edited by - Omniblade on October 23, 2007 9:50:24 PM]

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It would be rather nice if you could specify what type of RPG you intend this to be (single player, MMO, etc.) and more precisely the limits of your studio are.

And as you mentioned that your studio was somewhat limited hardware wise, and I imagine, -like most indie studios- on employees. The game you have in mind may seem overly complex. Geographically, if you intend each of the city areas to be of a respectable size, you are creating a world much greater in size than those made by many professional studios, with teams dedicated to landscape design.

The advanced system you propose to implement may also likewise be very ambitious, both in terms of creating a complex and meaningful trade system and combat system, amongst others, and the parameters of the proposed magic system. The complexity you propose once more surpasses those provided by professional game studios with resources that undoubtedly greatly surpass those of the studio you are a part of.

Reading through your post I have gained the impression that you in fact want this game to be an MMORPG, so I will question your combat system here. If you intend your combat system to rely on twitch reaction, and split-second timing, you would need latencies to be virtually non-existant, other wise players with latencies in excess of a very low thresh-hold would be at an incredible disadvantage in combat.

I would also like to point out that this is likely going to be one of the least of your concerns if you want to create a persistent world.

As for enhancing the illusion of a persistent world, I would say strong AI algorithms would be the best approach, however it may be simpler just to program events, such as NPCs walking around town, meeting and talking, and going home. There is no very simple way to create this illusion, for either it will be demanding to create, or very taxing on your hardware.

This again puts into question your magic system, your intention is that players will be able to destroy villages, however, you have not taken into account how the NPCs living there will take to this. Will they rebuild? if so, how long will it take, how will they approach it, etc. if not, where will they go?

As for large amounts of the content being destructible, how will you make sure that the world doesn't end up as a barren waste of ashes, as players in video games tend to be a bit more destructive than in real life, and with the magic system you proposed, it wouldn't take many bored high level mages to effectively lay waste to large amounts of your world.

So all in all, I would say that the expectations you have of this game are very high, considering the restrictions you yourself have mentioned. Making an MMO is very expensive. and if not an MMO, this particular game would be incredibly expensive to make even as a single player game.

while your ideas may be quite good, and to a lesser degree creative, you have to acknowledge that they are currently not feasible for a professional studio, let alone an indie development group.

First of all I would talk to a programmer (assuming the 'we' you mentioned is a working studio with artists and programmers)about the limitations of your system, and create a more realistic concept, that would not demand a budget at least twice that of world of warcraft's whopping $50-60 million, and 70 years worth of work.

The way I would approach this is to create a small online game, probably combat oriented, with instanced content. This makes the toll on your hardware much more manageable as you aren't continuously hosting an enormous real time world, but only small fractions of a world, and only when you need to. It also allows you to release the game with a small amount of content, and continuously expand upon it.

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But I said the idea was purely theoretical...at the time. And I don't even know why I said we.

Edit: Ah yes, I meant "we" as in our society. Oh, and it is single-player. Let me also note that as for the lack of creativity, this is by no means a polished idea. I need to read it several times before I'm sure about that.

As for the magic issues, magic is extremely limited. I have an insane system under proposal to make sure...

In addition, yes, algorithms would be perfect, when I am done with my idea. And yes, I plan on building on a dynamic world with human-like characters...

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oh, ok, I now know what you meant by that phrase.

and regarding the 'purely theoretical' side of this, you said that this was only going to be the case while you collected feedback, even as a single player what you intend to create would be pushing the limits of large professional studios, so I would still simplify your ideas to what is physically possible, and upon doing so, compare your games to the many games currently available that may be quite similar, and see if you still have anything unique and noteworthy.

well, seeing as at the moment your idea is strictly hypothetical, you're not bringing anything all too new to the table to be honest, as only the implementation of your ideas would be new. In some ways, I think that every single one of us who has played an RPG would love to create one where the world is completely interactive, and the NPCs seem as real as humans. We'd all love to have a magic system beyond fireballs and strength buffs, magic that has a great deal of interaction with the world around it; the ability to turn a pile of scrap iron into a simple golem, or the ability to warp the trees in the secluded grove into a small cabin for you to live your fantasy life in.

What you have essentially shared with us is the most commonly accepted version of a dream fantasy RPG. A game that seems so real that you can interact with the world, and talking to the NPCs seems like a glorified reality, as they are wittier, more thought-provoking, more hostile, more enervating, in short, more dramatic and vibrant than in real life.

if you want your dream game, and often by extension real game to be different at all to those of other game designers, don't do so by trying to improve upon an existing dream, such as the perfect fantasy RPG. Trust me, you are far from the first to think of this concept, and you most certainly will not be the last, and most importantly you will not be the first to have the team and technology capable of implementing this.

If you want to create something unique and tangible, you'll find a way to be more creative within the current technological limitations. Break away from the typical fantasy setting with warriors, rangers, mages and priests defining your basic player career option. Choose to make your world post-modern instead of post-apoc. There is plenty of room for change and creativity within the industry, however there is very little room for theoretical games that could not be implemented given current restrictions, especially, if when toned down these games become just yet another fantasy RPG.

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Quote:
Original post by Omniblade
Magic will tie in with fantastic religions, and is measured with the substance "red mist". This "mist" allows you to build towers out of the ground in seconds, burn down large sections of villages, and absorb souls. This epic power is not without repurcussions, however. Magic is highly unpredictable. You never know when that powerful fireball will burst out of you, or a tower will grow from your body, or your own soul will be ripped from your body. :)


You can't make magic uber powerful and expect to balance it with random instant death events; it's not fun and it doesn't work. It just means I can plough through the game destroying all in my path until I make an unlucky roll, whereupon I reload my last save.

You have to be careful with unpredictability in general. If the range of results are too dramatic, and/or the odds are too well hidden, then it will feel like skill and tactics take second place to blind luck.

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I just though about the fact that it would cost instant death now... All right, it can't kill you, but maybe transform you into an animal, set you on fire for a short time, break down (if you are building something), or creatures turn against you (if summoning) at least, maybe a minor poison or injury. So magic is both like a lottery and a skill-measurer. If you use magic often, you get better, but the chance of spell backfire is always there.

Also, you are not the only one who can use magic. There are hundreds of mage apprentices studying it, and numerous scholars and master wizards. Also, swordsmen are more than a match for mages, especially apprentices-you can always enchant, sharpen, strengthen, repair, curse, bless, or place a "numbing effect" on your weapon. Oh, and by the way, the numbing effect stops mages from using magic.

As for fir3monkey's reply, it's true... But I will clean up this idea when I have time so you can give me proper feedback. And yes, I will add more innovation/creativity.

I won't use warriors, mages, rogues, and priests. That's not really fun. I like a jack of all trades approach, where skills degenerate slowly if you use other skills. But there will be titles based on your combat style, reputation, drinking, eating habits, and other such things that seem like classes, but do not restrict you.

I feel I have not elaborated enough on the combat syle, so think-Devil May Cry+Conan+Fable+Medieval Combat styles.

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