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theta4

Making an RPG

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hi. me and a friend want to make an rpg. we are still in the design phase, and we need a bit of help as to what elements of an rpg need designing, such as characters, maps, dialog, etc. btw, this is our first game.

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That's a very very broad question ;)

Check this book out for a start, and then maybe come back with some more specific questions?

http://www.amazon.com/Swords-Circuitry-Designers-Role-Playing-Development/dp/0761532994/ref=pd_sim_b_2

But a few good questions to ask yourselves would be:

a) are we talking computer rpg or pen and paper?

b) will we use a existing rule set (such as AD&D) or make our own?

I would recommend by starting with creating a adventure in Neverwinter Nights 2 - Just to get a feel of things.

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Is this your experienced team's first game or your first game?

Remember this is a complicated process and it takes experience to do it; and why not start with a simple Mario clone? If you can do that, than you can probably pull off a good rpg.

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Just remember that characters are more vital as hooks than story. As in the media industry, "Whos buy things, not whats". People care less about what happens than the who behind it; hence, you may need to move around the story design to fit the characters. But be careful not to make it appear obvious, clichéd and unbelievable, with rediculous co-incidences for character development purposes.

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What I found to be the most surprisingly large task that required a bit of design and work was all of the Character Maintenance dialogs.

- Showing Party if there is one
- Showing Detailed Stats
- Cash and Treasure
- Leveling Up - Stats or Skills
- Adjusting Stats
- Showing Items in Inventory
- Individual Item Display and Effects
- Using and Equipping Items
- Buying/Selling Items in a Store
- Load/Save Character or Game
- Skills Dialog
- Quest Dialog - List of Ongoing/Completed
- Settings Dialog
- (Error Dialogs)

If you can whip together these dozen screens, give or take, you can apply them to any ol' type of RPG. Those dialogs are much more work then I thought they would be... but I had a pretty sweet design for making them, so adding just one more dialog was no big deal. (Start Screen, Game Over Screen, Credits Screen, Character Select Screen, Conversation Screen, etc... )

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RPGs are very content, and thus data, heavy games. Thier game engines often are little more than virtual machines driven by scripts.

If your intent is to write your own RPG I'd suggest you look into the RPGMaker game series. You might be able to use them to make your game. But my intent in pointing them out is that game series can be a great research tool in RPG game engine design. They can give you ideas on how data is used, what types of data structures are needed, how flexable such engines can be, and what could be done to make them better. Really insightful stuff.

Also it would be helpful to look into database software like Microsoft Access. This is because all those inventory screens, shops, even some conversation screens can be thought of as basicly MS Access forms. And by seeing how they can be edited and used it can give you insight into developing a flexable RPG engine to allow you to do the same. Makes adding new screens (forms) a piece of cake. Same thing can be said of Microsoft Power Point, which can allow you to see some of the inner workings of displaying RPG story screens and such.

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