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vs322

Exploration and Turn based RPGs

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vs322    134
I'm looking at ways to incorporate exploration into a "tactics" (disgia /FFT / tactics orger / fire emblem etc) strategy RPG. Exploration is such a fun and large part of most other sub-genres of RPG, but it is thoroughly lacking in most sRPGs. Some games have light exploration, such as world maps that are slowly reveled. However the player usually can not go beyond the areas that the plot has already taken them, nor is there much beyond random battles on maps that they have already played on anyway. Other games allow you to freely walk around the world map (FFTA2), but the player cannot actually enter any of the sub-zones / tactics maps unless they have an actual mission at that spot, while yes they can go to new cities, but in that game the cities are identical (for the most part) anyway. Then there is disgia which has no over world map of any kind, just menus of places you can go. Why this form of "exploring" seems so shallow to me is the change in scale of the maps. One can't stumble over an interesting cave or monster camp when your looking at a map showing the entire continent. BUT how does one bring exploring to the smaller scale tactics map in a reasonable way? Some thought; Have everything on the same map, no world map at all. The player moves his party around and it flows continuously from environment to environment. Some items to think about: is exploration turn bases as well? or does the game switch from real-time to turn based when an enemy is near. Also with characters with different movement ranges, will the player be forced to wait for the slower ones or will the entire party move at the same speed (the slowest character's ? the fastest one's?) Upon the initiation of combat will the characters still have full range of movement- or would some artificial bounds need to be put in place? Another idea I have had is to have individual tactics maps that you can walk to the edge of to go to the next one. This allows some sort of exploration or choice, but still has some of the same downsides of a constant-contiguous map. Also, with out some sort of fast travel, the player will need to move through many maps in which the enemies have already been dispatched or with random monsters whenever they need to get someplace. Could quickly become tedious and annoying. It seems to me that individual maps that you can freely move between when not in combat, combined with a over-map that allows fast travel to maps you have already been to seems like it strikes a good balance. There could be a chance of a random encounter when moving on the over map, the chance of which happening would increase the farther the player was fast traveling. Well I am looking for more ideas (with upsides and downsides) on this... or game examples..so post away.

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Ezbez    1164
You seem to be limiting yourself to Japanese-style RPGs. There's plenty of tactical, turn based Western RPGs (for some value of tactical). For example, I would consider Temple of Elemental Evil a tactical game (it's certainly not action, that's for sure!). Its towns are vibrant and interesting. However, there really isn't much large scale exploration. You're not wandering around the forest (unless you're told of a specific point of interest in the forest), but you do delve deep into the temple, which is vast. It is entirely not turn based except for combat. You walk around in real time, but the moment you spot an enemy, time freezes (unless it's the enemies' turns), and you issue commands one at a time. This is the same method used for many classic Western RPGs, namely Fallout, PlaneScape Torment, and Baldur's Gate.

IIRC, Baldur's Gate and Fallout offer more large scale wandering and exploration. They had a world map "fast travel"-style options, but you could also walk from any two places through the trees and fields. What you come to at the end of your post sounds extremely similar to what they do. Perhaps you should look into those series.

Also, yes the players had to wait for the slowest character.

Edit: And I forgot about Geneforge! You have to walk everywhere you go on foot for the first time, but it has a nice system where there's a network of "safe" and "dangerous" maps. You can walk quickly between any clear maps that have a route of safe maps between them. It was an interesting system. For example, I one time couldn't manage to make a zone safe, and it was the pass between a large mountain range. I did manage to run/sneak through it and get to the other side, but to get from one side of the mountain range and back, I would have to go to that dangerous side and sneak/run through it again.

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vs322    134
yeah Fallout has an interesting combination of the 2 (world map and local) But the exploration is almost always in town or specific locations. You can "stumble" across an interesting random incounter, but its not a flushed out consistent world out there.
Also, I may be wrong about it; its been a long time since I've played, but wasn't it only possible to go to places that the character knew about / was told about?

Yeah I actual just bought ToEE and have only just started playing it. The transition from turn to Real time is a little clunky imo. The entire interface seems a little unpolished actualy (I know it got rushed near the end (poor troika)). I've not got too deep into the exploring part of it so I can't really judge how it works, yet.

I played some of Genoforge (the demo for number 3 I think) and didn't really remember the travel system until now; seems very close to what I was thinking of.

I was sticking to "Japanese" style sRPGs as that is the style of my current project that I want to bring exploration too, but that doesn't mean I can't take inspiration ideas from other places.

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vs322    134
Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Xcom was a srpg which implemented exploration/fog-of-war. Added quite a bit to the game actually.


Yep- truly a great game, and well loved by me. even in X-com the exploration was on individual maps- and you usaly HAD to explore the entire place (to track down that last pesky bugger).

But this is not the exact type of exploration I was thinking about (all though it did get me thinking of fog of war). I was more thinking about Old Might and magic style exploring; - or Morrorwind. Where you can find something odd and WAY over your level and later come back to it if you chose. Both of those examples had 1 scale which I think has a lot to do with the type of game play I am after.

Eh I may be being too picky with what I want my game to play like. I am now leaning towards individual maps that have entrance / exit points to the next map. Perhaps you can only leave one map when not in combat (or have to make some sort of saving throw).

About the over world map- You would be able to "fast travel" from explored square to explored square (if there is a currently available path). There would be a chance for a random encounter on any of the squares that you move through, this could be influenced by how long it has been since you have actual had a fight there / how thoroughly you beat whatever was on that map and if the map is hostile at all (a town for example could be passed through without chance of a random encounter).
(forgive the programmer art)


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