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What's Lost Without Movement? (SP RPG)

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Combat aside, what do you think is lost if players cannot navigate their characters throughout rooms in a dungeon or other equivalent environment? I posted elsewhere that I'm considering using an RPG design involving abstract movement throughout a level. Rather than rendering out lots of environments filled with trash, furniture and containers/safes/crates/chests, my thought is to zoom out and base interaction on movement through stylized, randomly assembled sections. What do I really lose by doing this? The first couple of answers are probably obvious: Anyone who wants immersion won't care to play. People who are looking for seamless integration of combat and walking around also will be turned off. But what else? You probably lose the ability to step in and step out of an environment, say to trigger traps or check if an environment is deadly. But that depends on how movement is handled (real-time or turn-based not sure) and could really be a movement option. You definitely lose any gameplay relying on the player's observational skill, such as a symbol near an area that might denote a trap or hidden door. But I don't know that that's bad (especially when I think of all the work to set up triggers and carefully texture environments). It strikes me, also, that this sort of thing can be moved from player skill to character skill and would fit with using text and icons to convey information (e.g., "You spot a tiny glyph on the door frame.") Obviously, removing minute movement is a big risk. But my goal behind doing so is to speed up the dungeon crawl, allow players to potentially split their party, have parties of arbitrary size and possibly not have to be the leader of their party as it moves through the level (see other post). I could also see providing a wider range of environments than would be possible if I'm stuck creating cups, plates, tables and chairs. What other risks are there with this concept that I might not be seeing? Any thoughts on maximizing the idea and making it better?

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This reminds me of this old gem from last year, and all my mental images from that thread are cropping up as I visualize your idea in this one. Based on that discussion, I'm confident that you can make the "dungeon crawl" sufficiently engaging and deep from that simplified interface, especially if you aren't making a game that's action-packed with hordes of zombies or chests full of loot, around which the gameplay is centered.

Is this going to come up often in gameplay? If you're going to have a lot of these operations, checking derelict spacecraft or securing ruined buildings before converting them to bases or investigating a perimeter breach on Security Deck 14, the abstract method will probably be more fun than a more direct one. Leading a squad through an empty building, meticulously clearing room after room, is something SWAT teams do in training, and they get paid for it. It's not a lot of fun.

I see two major risks with your concept: First, the interface will have to be very good, and second, you'll have to explain things to the player.

Imagining it, I'm seeing a 2d or isometric map, with color-coded "zones" a la Metroid, and you move your little unit icons around like a Risk board, sending a few squads of infantry to secure the depot while your tanks patrol Main Street and air support relaxes on station, ready to go if you need them. I figure a click-and-drag interface will do for most of it, but if you have a bunch of contextual actions, like fortifying the laboratory or installing sentry turrets in the crawlspace or hacking the mainframe, it might turn into a bunch of colored buttons and/or long right-click menus, which can get clumsy and annoying.

As far as explaining things goes, that's something you've already addressed in several threads, and I'd say your comic book idea would do the job effectively and well, as long as you keep it from getting repetitive.

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Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Combat aside, what do you think is lost if players cannot navigate their characters throughout rooms in a dungeon or other equivalent environment?

I posted elsewhere that I'm considering using an RPG design involving abstract movement throughout a level. Rather than rendering out lots of environments filled with trash, furniture and containers/safes/crates/chests, my thought is to zoom out and base interaction on movement through stylized, randomly assembled sections.

What do I really lose by doing this?


You lose nothing. Why won't you try it out, sounds fun.

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Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Combat aside, what do you think is lost if players cannot navigate their characters throughout rooms in a dungeon or other equivalent environment?

I posted elsewhere that I'm considering using an RPG design involving abstract movement throughout a level. Rather than rendering out lots of environments filled with trash, furniture and containers/safes/crates/chests, my thought is to zoom out and base interaction on movement through stylized, randomly assembled sections.

What do I really lose by doing this?

The first couple of answers are probably obvious: Anyone who wants immersion won't care to play. People who are looking for seamless integration of combat and walking around also will be turned off. But what else?

You probably lose the ability to step in and step out of an environment, say to trigger traps or check if an environment is deadly. But that depends on how movement is handled (real-time or turn-based not sure) and could really be a movement option.


You definitely lose any gameplay relying on the player's observational skill, such as a symbol near an area that might denote a trap or hidden door. But I don't know that that's bad (especially when I think of all the work to set up triggers and carefully texture environments). It strikes me, also, that this sort of thing can be moved from player skill to character skill and would fit with using text and icons to convey information (e.g., "You spot a tiny glyph on the door frame.")

Obviously, removing minute movement is a big risk. But my goal behind doing so is to speed up the dungeon crawl, allow players to potentially split their party, have parties of arbitrary size and possibly not have to be the leader of their party as it moves through the level (see other post). I could also see providing a wider range of environments than would be possible if I'm stuck creating cups, plates, tables and chairs.

What other risks are there with this concept that I might not be seeing? Any thoughts on maximizing the idea and making it better?

Seriously, you wouldn't lose anything related to the RP aspect. And if you're seriously wanting to make an RPG, not losing anything on the RP part means that you're exactly on the right track.

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I was thinking about a game in which the usual RPG interface is used for battles but most exploration done through an overland map, and through a text or dialogue base interface in the case of dungeons and cities.

So going through the dungeon would be like an old adventure novel, with the surroundings described to the player through text. The player could make broad choices through dialogue options like choosing to search for loot, go down these steps, give an answer to a riddling statue or whatever. Each dungeon would be usually finish with a boss battle.

Obviously the player base has to be willing to read, but I can see being able to tell richer stories through text since you'd be free from the contraints of making everything cinematic. It also cuts out the crawling, although in quite a different way to what you propose.

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