• Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  

Questions about an RPG(not a RPG pich)

This topic is 3576 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

My friend and I are currently developing a RPG, and in the course of our development we have come across an interesting premise, and it essentially involves the removal of direct qualifiers, quantifiers, guides and ect from the game. Instead of directly laying out things like a weapon's statistics and modifiers, you only give out inferences and suggestions as to the weapon's power and worth (the methods of suggestion will be covered later), leaving it's real value up to the player. Many quests will be delivered in a similar fashion, (note; the majority of the quests will still be layed out the player in a more direct fashion) instead of being given a specific list, directions and ect, a chore list of sorts, the player may be given a general goal, and the means of accomplishing that goal will be left completely up to the player. The player may , while perusing through the local pub, hear of a new form of armor material that was stolen from a seaside trading company, what the player does with this tid bit of information is completely up to them. In many RPGs, the player's exact skills, their exact attributes and so on are directly given to them, and instead of really building up a character with what they want, and crafting it around what they have discovered and find worthy based on their own decisions, they are left with a list of statistics, which often boils down the building of the player's character into a business like affair where it becomes less about personal style and simply about obtaining and utilizing the best available items , weapons and ect. Understandably there are many things that will be tough to transform, and some aspects may not directly transfer and may require modification to better fit this style of game. In short, we feel that the directness of current RPGs, that is, the blatant expression of statistical qualifiers in all aspects of the game has made RPGs more about statistic hunting, and less about what a role playing game should really be about, the player creating their character after personal tastes, ideals and wants, and by allowing the player to discover, and judge on a personal basis what suits their, needs and desires, will yield a much more pleasurable experience. This will be accomplished through the indirect suggestion, of specific aspects of the game allowing the player to infer the meaning of these suggestions and act accordingly. The question is, if in fact that this is possible from a game development standpoint, will it be too far from the accepted norm for the majority of players to accept this as a viable system, and if the chance is likely that the mass majority (albeit the mass majority often lacks the ability to accept ideas that differ largely from the norm), should it be pursued from the stand point of simply developing a new system of gaming, a dissertation of sorts, where the purpose will not be to make a highly successful game but to explore new aspects? [Edited by - AgentShiva on April 4, 2008 1:20:00 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
Unless you're writing games to make money, I think indie developers _should_ be trying out new ideas. Most commercial games rarely add new game concepts - mostly just better graphics.

As for the concept, I'm not sure I really understand what you're saying. You say RPG's are players driven by statistics and they don't have to be. Fair enough. But your proposed alternative, if I may speak bluntly, seems rather vague and hand wavy (unless you're doing that intentionally to protect your idea).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I might be biased because because I'm making a RPG where stats are actually significant, but, to be honest, I really don't see a problem in showing numbers. Why do gamers, in some games, always pick the same character? If everyone uses the same character with the same build, it's because the game is strongly unbalanced. If you put a little work on game balance and make sure all options are viable, most players will pick the character that matches their play style, not the slightly stronger guy. This has nothing to do with stats, actually. If you ask me, hiding them instead of balancing a game is not a very good idea.

Besides, it's not like every gamer will calculate their stats to the third decimal, and even fewer gamers and will play a character they hate because he has the most potential. Go to any FF6 message board and ask how many people use Gau? Then how many use Sabin? In case you haven't played that game, Gau was an extremely good character but that was annoying to use and even more to build. Sabin was fun to use, looked strong at first glance, but he is actually average if you give him a closer look. Well, I'll tell you: only the hardcore really use Gau, and most newbs never leave home without Sabin. The hardcore gamers will have a close look on character builds, stats, equipment, etc.

How useful is it to see stats? If the game is hard, I want to see my stats so I know what I could improve to make my time a little easier. If the game is easy, the only stats I care for are health and mana, and a simple gauge would do for the former.

Of course, you could just have role-playing elements but having a "non-RPG" battle system without character development, stats, equipment etc. If all your characters are "fixed" battle-wise, there is no need for stats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A lot of people have thought about this before. Sadly, although many "real RPGers" would probably welcome such a concept, a significant proportion of players prefers doing the munchkin, and an even larger proportion only plays RPGs to win. While playing a RPG to win is somewhat bizarre and absurd, it is nevertheless done regularly.

I fear that a game which only shows "glowing badass sword" instead of "Soulreaper +15, +27 damage against humanoids, +10.4% chance of stealing strength" will find little acceptance among the broad masses, and unluckily you need the broad masses to survive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I also didn't completely follow the idea very well. But that may be my own fault, due to my prolonged uncaffeinated state.

I did catch the mention of hidden character stats. That's something I've been pondering over for a while. My idea wasn't to hide stats, but to have them initially hidden. There would be a great many stats and skills, but none of them would actually exist for a character until that character performs the actions that make use of them enough to show it.

As an example, a combat-heavy character may never witness an assassination skill, where you have to attack an unknowing enemy while sneaking several times to build it up to level 1.

Many skills would be difficult to hide, since most players use many varying types of actions with most types of characters. But certain skills would make the gameplay benifit from it, such as weapon, armor, or item related skills, where the player isn't introduced to everything all at once.

Here are a few of the benefits I've considered:

1. Beginning players are never overwhelmed. No need to research an archive of stats and skills to figure out where they want to be.

2. The game and character's potential feel more limitless for players. Not knowing everything that exists is a good thing. Even advanced players can expect to accidently wander onto a new ability by trying something new. That new ability could lead to special perks or whatnot, unlocking another aspect of the game.

3. It would be possible to hide certain abilities from players until they discover them. Such as hiding an archery skill in a post-modern setting. Or an aircraft piloting skill in a typical foot-based first person shooter. Normally, a player just starting the game would already be aware of the fact that they will eventually run into a bow & arrow or F16 at some point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You're description reminds me a bit of the GTA games, at least in the respect that you are given the story setup and a suggestion of where you should be going. After that, you can choose what "quests" to do at your leisure and choosing more or less.

In terms of the stats, the GTA games are also like this. You kind of know which weapons are stronger than others, though nowhere is this information explicitly given. Also, character stats just kind of go up the more you do a particular thing, like driving or cycling, etc. Its all very unobtrusive, it you will, which seems to me like what you're going for, if I understood your post.

Of course, if you're doing a game much more heavy on the RPG elements, you could use these general mechanics and just extend them a bit, still keeping the stats out of the players way, but allowing them to guide progression with a light touch.

Just my 2 cents; hope it's helpful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Games are about meaningful choices. If the player does not have sufficient information to make anything better than a shot in the dark, it ceases to be meaningful.

I can also see where (if not done really well) the lack of direction could be frustrating and boring in the end (see morrowind 3).

In the end, stuff does have statistics and overcoming a challenge will involve hitting a roll (in a CRPG) or figuring out a puzzle. Hiding things from the player to increase the difficulty in that is (imo) a little silly. 'Immersion' really has little impact on the fun of a game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
(see morrowind 3).


???

Are you talking about the second expansion pack to The Elder Scrolls III, TES III: Morrowind, or Oblivion, or well, just what the hell are you talking about seeing? And a game doesn't require direction. the TES games are great because you're not tied to a single story line. Yes, they have their problems, and aren't the end all of video games, but ANY game gets boring after awhile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To sort of give a vision to the idea, think of playing The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion in first person view without a HUD, no health bars, no magika bars, just a screen showing you the world. The player judges their health through various means, ie. if they are stumbling around after a battle or if they are have trouble with blurred vision.

When it comes down to the points where a HUD is required there could be something much more...interactive then just opening a inventory or what not and equipping armor etc.

Another question is when it comes down to purchasing items. Again if I may reference Oblivion, I believe if you held the z button down you could pick up an item and hold it in the air in front of you. Imagine walking into a shop and seeing every available item on the walls and a shop keep at a counter. Now imagine the player uses this feature and grabs the item and places it on the counter in front of the cashier which automatically opens a dialog box for the sale.

We are not talking about directly removing stats from the game but simply from the players view. Its a very heavily trial and error based system. Lets say your running around town doing whatever and you overhear a conversation between 2 NPC's about a shipment of rare armor that just came in for a specific shop. Any sensible person would say well, its rare armor so its probably good and maybe check it out, or just ignore it, its completely up to them.

Another consideration is leveled equipment stats. That is to say that as the characters level gets higher the quality of the equipment actually becomes better.

And now I laugh at myself because the more I talk about this the more I think to myself that this is a cross between a modern FPS(Call of Duty 4) and an action-adventure game haha.

Please give me your opinion as I am very interested in knowing. And also this is indie so im open to pretty much any "revolutionary" ideas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it's a really good idea, man. Though, you will need to call attention to certain armor types being better than others. You know, say the character goes to an armorer and is inspecting a particular gauntlet, and the shop owner might say, "That one's pretty good, but it's nothing compared to PoopyPantsGauntlet_1".

And you could have conversations with random people reveal things like someone saying "I just bought this PeePantsGauntlet_2 and it is pure shite!"

Would certainly make things feel more real, and add an element of discovery to the game. And also, if you care so much about personal style, I always thought it would be a cool idea to have players select two outfits. One armor outfit and one clothes. Then whenever he/she enters a city zone, the set automatically switches to clothes style.

Anyway, that's my input.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In real life, different people like different weightings, different styles, etc. However, until you actually find a way to have that personal feedback in an RPG (the 'feel' that runs through it), you're going to have to have some text based method of relaying it. You can either go precise and have numbers, or be a big vague, but, in the end, it amounts to the same thing gameplay wise. Immersion wise, though, I'd favour the vague approach.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Although Oblivion did not hide stats, it did (for the most part) hide the actual mechanics that determine how those stats affect your actions, and so arguably it did achieve some degree of opacity. And I think it makes an interesting case study for this kind of discussion.

Some people played the game not worrying too much about the mechanics; they just chose options that they thought would suit the character. To begin with, they would have been quite pleased with the results, finding that they were gaining levels quickly without too much effort.
However, then they got bitten by the level scaling. As they increased in level, so did everything else. Except everything else seemed to get stronger faster than they did. The higher they went up in levels, the further behind the curve they got, and even the most expensive equipment in the game was not enough to restore any semblance of balance.

Meanwhile, the powergamers figured out the mechanics behind the ass-backwards leveling system, and went on to create super optimized character builds. (which ironically, due to the ass-backwards levelling system, were pretty much the exact opposite of what you might have intuitively chosen) They labbed the spell creation and enchantment system and discovered subtleties that enabled you to create low cost spells/enchantments that could be spammed by just about any character, yet could kill even the most powerful monsters in just a few hits with geometrically stacking damage bonuses. They even discovered a way to use this same stacking behaviour to buff themselves to gamebreakingly godlike levels (this was later disabled in a patch), and in doing so turn the biggest weakness of (arguably) the most powerful birthsign into a massive game advantage. And then they posted their findings on the internet so anyone could use them.

Part of Oblivion's problem was that the levelling mechanics were fundamentally flawed and broken. But it exposes a real danger that you have with hidden mechanics, and that is that without some degree of transparency, the players have no idea if their decisions are permanently gimping their character or otherwise likely to reduce their enjoyment of the game. It also shows that at the end of the day, hiding game mechanics doesn't really stop the min-maxers; it just makes it harder for the average casual gamer. Unless he has a working internet connection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oblivion's leveling mechanics weren't broken because they were hidden. They were broken because they were plain broken. Looking at them the only conclusion I can come to is that they came up with it in 5 minutes and then never thought about it again. Most power increases come from skills, while effective power decreases come from leveling. Skills you don't major in don't make you level. Therefore, it is most efficient to major in skills you don't use. Regardless of whether it is hidden or not, it makes zero sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by AgentShiva
In many RPGs, the player's exact skills, their exact attributes and so on are directly given to them, and instead of really building up a character with what they want, and crafting it around what they have discovered and find worthy based on their own decisions, they are left with a list of statistics, which often boils down the building of the player's character into a business like affair where it becomes less about personal style and simply about obtaining and utilizing the best available items , weapons and ect. Understandably there are many things that will be tough to transform, and some aspects may not directly transfer and may require modification to better fit this style of game.


In the early days of Ultima Online quite a bit was hidden from the player. There were no stats applied to weapons and armor, and magic items simply had names such as "broadsword of vanquishing". Items are an aspect that do well in hiding numbers and stats.

To hide skills you'd probably have to change the gameplay to not be about level building like traditional RPGs are. If skills were hidden and the gameplay did center around level building then it'd be frustrating to not have a clear idea as to the progress of your character. If, on the other hand, the player could progress without needing to "level up" then the player could play on blissfully unaware that the character's steadidly improving.

Some ways this might be accomplished might be more action oriented play, more item based mechanics (stronger items are more important than leveling up), or quests that grant you new titles and such (like if a player wants to become warrior there'd be no fighting skills but a warrior guild that gives quests and training (for a fee perhaps)).

That's all assuming I'm reading the post correctly :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Captain Griffen
Oblivion's leveling mechanics weren't broken because they were hidden. They were broken because they were plain broken. Looking at them the only conclusion I can come to is that they came up with it in 5 minutes and then never thought about it again. Most power increases come from skills, while effective power decreases come from leveling. Skills you don't major in don't make you level. Therefore, it is most efficient to major in skills you don't use. Regardless of whether it is hidden or not, it makes zero sense.

There was the item/equipment ladder. You could only find interesting treasure during exploration once you reach high levels. The higher your level, the more useful the gadgets. But that was about the only reason to level up.

Other than that, you're absolutely right. The best strategy was to keep all of your most used skills as minor skills. That gives you manual control over increasing your character level, either by repeating a spell cast, letting a goblin beat on you, or by training with NPCs. You can essentially become all-powerful with your favorite skills at level 5 or 6, where you would have been about level 20 if your favorite skills were major skills.

But that just causes the game to be much less fun, and it takes the gameplay down to some absolute minimum immersion state. There are literally hundreds of really simple mistakes like this in the game's design that hurt it significantly. I wouldn't even want to use it as an example for design ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I apologize for bringing oblivion into this haha, I didnt realize it would spark a debate as I wasn't aware of a flaw in the game. But now thats its mentioned I can see what everyone is saying.

More on topic though the basic gist of what everyone is saying is that if players attributes/skills are hidden then they need gear stats to based thier progression off of and vice-versa.

I was talking to my buddy and we agreed that identifiers like "Spaulders of Might" could be a part of the game instead of just "Steel Spaulders". The stats on the armor would be leveled so they got better with the player as well.

Also With this in mind we do not want to show the player their level and stats and skills etc. at all, anywhere, ever. The RPG is running under the hood and the players see progression through their actions. There will be a point when a player says well gee, I feel a little bit stronger, but wont actually know if they are or not.

As the player levels more and more they would start to hear their name tossed around in conversation between NPC's or their favorite shopkeep would recognize them and give them a discount for being so awesome, or something like that.

By not clearly stating stats and leaving a little to the player's imagination and perception, the player will build a character more how they want it to be, not just based off the best equipment/stats build (which they still could thanks to the internet).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The main problem with hidden stats is the frustration of the player repeatedly dying and not knowing what their doing wrong.
If you don't want to display stats in numbers how about just getting rid of most stats and having the outcome of battles more dependent on player skill and have a game more remenisant of a dos platformer than modern crpg.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Games are about meaningful choices. If the player does not have sufficient information to make anything better than a shot in the dark, it ceases to be meaningful.


I strongly believe that visual feedback is all that is necessary to give a player sufficient information. Numbers don't need to be shown.

A large bear would clearly be more threatening than a rat. If you can see that your enemy has a particular weapon/gun, you can account for that in your gameplay. (of course many games RPGs do NOT have good visual feedback, where a lvl 50 giant rat is clearly more dangerous than that lvl 10 sea monster).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Humble Hobo
Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Games are about meaningful choices. If the player does not have sufficient information to make anything better than a shot in the dark, it ceases to be meaningful.


I strongly believe that visual feedback is all that is necessary to give a player sufficient information. Numbers don't need to be shown.


In theory yes, in practice I have never seen this done well. Though its probably just a matter of the effort required to do it well doesn't outweigh having one gimmicky feature. Additionally it doesn't mesh well with the start out killing rats on monday and be killing gods by the end of the week power progressing most rpg's have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It doesn't seem to me like keeping players half blinded will work toward much of a greater good. If players can notice a difference as they climb, then they may as well be looking at a number. It changes very little. Not nearly enough to compensate the effort that will be required on your part to visually confirm growth or statistics.

Even in the real world, people love to record their growth and measure it against their past accomplishments. It encourages and inspires us to continue growing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Right. Sim City for example has numbers underneath but has always should just a color map of crime/land value/etc, and in SC4 some visual cues directly on the map. That works well for the needs. The player can still make decisions based off of that.

Now the player gets a rusty steel sword and a iron sword. Which is better? What sort of visual cues can they get to make that decision sufficiently well? Remember, trial and error is not acceptable... it leads the player to lose/die without knowing why, or otherwise wasting their time to find out that which any other game just tells them.

All for what? Immersion? Pteh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Will it be worth my while to put the time into the system to make it work well? Or should I just go with a more common system that shows stats and health bars etc.?

Keep in mind while answering this question, that this project is for my portfolio. I do plan to show this game to future employers, but do not plan to sell it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Captain Griffen
Oblivion's leveling mechanics weren't broken because they were hidden. They were broken because they were plain broken. Looking at them the only conclusion I can come to is that they came up with it in 5 minutes and then never thought about it again. Most power increases come from skills, while effective power decreases come from leveling. Skills you don't major in don't make you level. Therefore, it is most efficient to major in skills you don't use. Regardless of whether it is hidden or not, it makes zero sense.


I agree. I could go on at length about how broken they were, but that wasn't really my point; the point was that players were robbed of the ability to make good choices due to the hiding of various game mechanics.

Quote:
Original post by Agent Shiva
More on topic though the basic gist of what everyone is saying is that if players attributes/skills are hidden then they need gear stats to based thier progression off of and vice-versa.


That's not really what I'm saying at all. I'm saying it's difficult for players to make good choices/avoid bad choices if things are hidden from them. And without any hard numerical feedback to show them where they're going wrong, it's very difficult to put things right.

Quote:

Will it be worth my while to put the time into the system to make it work well? Or should I just go with a more common system that shows stats and health bars etc.?


Well you're probably going to want some numerical feedback in for debugging purposes anyway, and I imagine most of the cues you'd need to put in to give the players non-numerical feedback would be nice things to have whether you use stats or not. So do both and see which works best. Nothing is wasted either way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement