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Ashaman73

Fantasy Survival RPG, is it feasible ?

7 posts in this topic

We want to make a fantasy rpg playing in a dungeon. So far we got lot of ideas and I want to start focusing on just one major game feature to start with. In my opinion most of modern (MMO)RPGs are focusing on character advancement giving the player the feeling to get more powerful with each quest/killing/item. But what would happen if you are thrown into a dungeon, a hostile environment with dangerous monster. Your task is not to slay the evil dragon or rescue the pricess but to survive and escape. You have to eat, drink, getting ill, fight dangerous monster and have to rest. Most survival games I know are horror survival games with a very strong horror atmosphere. Some post apocalyptical RPGs like fallout are also refered as survival rpg, aren't they ? Well, what is the definition of a survival game ? Is it feasible to make a survival fantasy rpg with everything like race/class selection and magic ? Has it be done before ? In a standard rpg the player characters are powerful heroes, but in a survival (horror) game the player character is often the most weak entity in the game environment. Also most resources are really limited and you don't have access to powerful items. In our scenario I could think of following features: - The PC has to eat/drink else loosing attributes and/or starving. - The PC could get ill from cold, disease, poision. The effect will endure longer and will not be cured easily, just be eased or shortened. - Monster are really dangerous and you have to use certain tactics to kill single monsters. - You have to harvest monster/plants to get food. - Items are really limited in number and quality. - The PC has to use crafting skills to transform all the worthless stuff you found to something useful. - Using magic is a problem. How to limit it to avoid making it to powerful, but still making it useful ? - Wounds are more mortal and you have to tend them more. Has it be done before ? It is feasible or would most gamers expect a standard rpg and get frustrated after encountering the first monster or starve ? Are eating,drinking, getting ill, resting just things nobody wants to see in a rpg ? -- Ashaman
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You're actually describing something not unlike a lot of classic computer RPGs, most notably Ultima Underworld.

But I like the direction you're pushing it in, with a weak character and even more short-term tactical and long-term strategic thinking. Allow the player to have a small party and offer a diverse array of character types to choose from, and you could come up with some really interesting scenarios.
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Roguelikes are the first thing that came to my mind, too. Shortly after that, I thought about Dwarf Fortress, and then about Clonk Planet. I think you could really make a fun, deep, interesting game on this idea. It would challenge the player, be different every time, and never make you a dime, because the target audience for such a game is very small lately.

I won't rant about how gamers are soft and weak and only want games that they can beat without playing the first level more than once, but your idea is old-fashioned in many ways, and the sort of people who are into that already have it in the form of tabletop RPG scenarios and won't be drawn to an electronic version with more restrictions and no multiplayer modes that let them drink and cuss and throw shit at their friends. You can whip up a "mod" for a tabletop RPG in just a couple days, and only spend a few bucks on materials.

But yeah, this is very appealing to me, and I adore the idea of having to contend with issues like hunger, cold, radiation, injuries, infections and psychological disorders in a game, instead of just focusing on ammo reserves and HP. There are tabletop RPGs, which allow all kinds of custom rules, but require you to sit there and roll dice and keep notes to track math, which requires them to remain simple. Then there are CRPGs, which can do all kinds of math for you, but can't always encompass your imagination. If there's a really terrific hybrid, using a computer to track nuanced data while the players control the content, I haven't seen it.
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In this kind of game, I think it would be cool if there was a stealth element to the game. Perhaps it would not be feasible to kill every monster you come across. Maybe some monsters are too strong and need to be avoided instead.
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Quote:
Original post by Kelly G
In this kind of game, I think it would be cool if there was a stealth element to the game. Perhaps it would not be feasible to kill every monster you come across. Maybe some monsters are too strong and need to be avoided instead.

Or distract them with a disposable wizard, in a "Fly, you fools!" moment...

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A couple of games that used hunger include Gauntlet and Ultima Underworld.

Some ideas:
- Have different foods offer different nourishment values (e.g. steak > loaf of bread > apple > peanut), different longevity values (e.g. how long it will keep), and have food age determine nourishment value at the time of eating.

- Let the player choose the difficulty level, which determines the number of dungeon levels he must climb out of.

- Use light as a factor; the more light one carries, the more wandering monsters are attracted to it (or avoid it due to fear).

- Players should be able to use their environment to their advantage (line-of-sight, coverage from large monsters, escaping through small spaces where larger monsters cannot pursue).

- Monsters shouldn't be 100% random, but might have lairs and traveling paths (consider animals in the wild who maintain trails between their sleeping area, place where they leave their stool, and eating/watering grounds). For example, #1 a natural herbivorous animal who travels between lair and a large open cavern with subterranean plants or fungus forest, and #2 their natural predator who lurks the fungus forest for fresh food. Monitoring a particularly lethal monster's daily routine permits one to bypass it unharmed.

- Some monsters should stalk their prey, and only strike at opportune moments (e.g. stalker monster won't engage a group of adventurers until they appear weak and hurt from battle, making the kill easier and the encounter more serious). Otherwise the monster keeps its distance from the party, and absolutely will not engage them unless cornered.

- Natural hazards (rock-slides, cave-ins, lava rivers, noxious-gas deposits, etc).

- In terms of limiting magic: if item supply is limited, then perhaps this could affect magic, if magic required material components. Alternatively, magic can be cast anytime (given a magic-point/mana availability), but magic's power can be enhanced by using material components. For example, fire-based spells require sulphur as a component, which is only available in natural sulphur deposits.

Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress!
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This sounds really quite cool. I think that you should make team work focal to success. Like some else said, make sacrificing a team mate for the greater good (although make sure to give them something to do and a reward, like let them become a spiritual figure aka Yoda :P)

On difficulty, the reason why games that are easy are more popular is because it isn't much fun to lose. Instead, demonstrate to the player that direct combat is truly, unfairly, difficult, but don't make non-combat difficult. Ie, make it fairly easy to remain hidden. Don't make is ultra realistic when it comes to stealth!

Probably the best thing is high stakes for failure, to make it tense, make talking between teams make noise (as tension can be very easily be broken if you have friends "loling" and what not) but make the game forgiving enough that failure doesn't make the player want to quit. Ideally, you want the player to not fail, but have to take things carefully to succeed.
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