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AgentShiva

Questions about an RPG(not a RPG pich)

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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]

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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