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Ronnie Mado Solbakken

Crude - An Apocalyptic Tale

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Hey guys!

I'm currently writing a game called Crude, but I thought I'd post this in the Game Design forum because I'd like to ask you guys a question related to that.

So, this game is set in an post-apocalyptic world, somewhat reminiscent of Wasteland, Rage, STALKER and the Fallout series. Keywords include "survival", "scavenging" and "crude gear" (hence the title hehe). The difference, however, is that this is an Action RPG (with a game world similar to either Diablo 3 or Sacred 2, I haven't decided yet).

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[b]My question is this:[/b]

If you guys were to decide the most important game features for any game of this genre, what would they be? Whether we're talking story, controls, combat mechanics, or whatever. In your opinion, what is the absolutely most essential things that these kinds of games need to have (apart from the post-apocalyptic world, of course), in order for you to have fun playing them?

Like, what was it you liked best with the aforementioned games? What did you feel were missing, and what could've been done better?

Discuss. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] Edited by DrMadolite

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Well, the biggest problem seems to be the "action" part. Most of your player base is rather hardcore RPG fans (Wasteland, Fallout). They might be not thrilled about action RPG. Of course we can never know for sure, maybe that's irrelevant and they will play anything of that theme regardless of the genre...

What I liked the most... hmmm... I guess in Fallout 1-2 it was the lack of thousands of pointless quests (Baldur's Gate horror), it was smaller in scope and managable. I really liked that aspect of it (it was a game you actually could finish). Also graphics was nice.
I didn't like the mood, it was utterly unrealistic (the drug addicts on the streets, as if they had any chance to survive; useless slaves that were designated to do some irrelevant things instead of the only one that matters which is growning food). It kind of felt like a modern big city and a rich society where no one starves to death and the major problems were drugged teenagers and drunken people.

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[quote name='DrMadolite' timestamp='1335644560' post='4935662']
Like, what was it you liked best with the aforementioned games? What did you feel were missing, and what could've been done better?
[/quote]

1. Well thought out and fun combat system. Not just basic, unbalanced hack and slash.
2. Exploration: discovering different unique locations, with their own storys, subplots/subquests, and interesting characters.

Good luck! Feel free to contact me if you need beta testers or just general chat with someone who is also trying to pull off an indie project. ;)

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Hmm, coming from a Fallout 3/New Vegas perspective (and keeping away from pure bugginess):

Good
- Quests
- Factions
- Exploration
- Fighting
- Impressive views, mixture of real-worldish and totally different
- Crafting
- Scavenging

Bad
- Brain-dead AI (not always)
- Quests which have very precise succeed/fail criteria that don't make sense looking at the big picture
- Objects that look interactive but aren't
- Lack of ability to make peace with hostiles (I know, very few games have this, but it's just so black and white!)
- Poor visibility (e.g. too dark underground)
- Lack of persistent or scripted events unrelated to quests, e.g. in a post apocalyptic wasteland you'd expect towns to get attacked sometimes, right?

Can you explain what crude gear is, and what it's role is? At first I thought that crude referred to oil. lol

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To all above: Some great points, it seems like we're on similar pages.

@jefferytitan: "Crude" has multiple meanings. It's inspired by Mad Max 2 (where oil is central), crude gear means gear of low/rusted quality and the problemsolving in this game is intentionally going to be far from perfect - last ditch efforts, juxtapositions, predicaments, surprising turns, guilt trips and just over-the-top "OMG, you have GOT to be kidding me".

For instance, some quests include one that you'll complete before you even start it, and others that can never be successfuly done (but can be failed in different ways). I'm a huge fan of Chris Avellone's philosophies (with regards to Planescape Torment (particularly death, reversal and breaking convention); check out [b][url="http://youtu.be/MWEl0IQm670"]this video[/url][/b]).

I'm planning to implement a much more horizontal progression as well, compared to WoW (broadening the horizon and the range of tactics rather than just pumping out higher and higher parameters). Edited by DrMadolite

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About [b]survival[/b]:

I made this very simple minigame/prototype http://www.postnuclearworld.com/ It's about survival on the wasteland. It got good reactions from players and I started to think how to turn it into a full fledged game. That's when I encountered a big obstacle.
Survival means you are fighting against deadly odds. You lack of food and water and there is radiation and other dangers. Sounds cool, no doubt. But the thing is it as a losing battle. In survival you are destined to lose. You will die. It is just a matter of time. That's the description of Tower Defence games.
But when I looked at *ALL* other games in that theme I have not found EVEN ONE that was about survival. These were mostly RPGs and these all were about progress.

In short, survival is opposite to progression.

In the end I abandoned this concept, survival sounded cool, but in fact the players didn't want it (they wanted it only to be called a survival, but they wanted to get stronger and stronger, not weaker and weaker). I'm not saying a survival game can not exist, but... you need to be ready to sacriface most of traits of a conventional game.

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[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1335789538' post='4936058']In short, survival is opposite to progression.

In the end I abandoned this concept, survival sounded cool, but in fact the players didn't want it (they wanted it only to be called a survival, but they wanted to get stronger and stronger, not weaker and weaker). I'm not saying a survival game can not exist, but... you need to be ready to sacriface most of traits of a conventional game.
[/quote]

I think you hit the nail on the head. This is why I'm trying hard to come up with some sort of hybrid system. True survival is far too harsh as a fun game feature, so I've adopted a form of aesthetic survivalism in which you're never critically penalized (unless it's implemented in a way that promotes immersion and gameplay), but rather reduced in select capacities (maybe with some exceptions where blatant neglect can have greater effect). Edited by DrMadolite

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Agreed about survival vs progression. Perhaps (somewhat like the real world) you need to establish a baseline level of lifestyle before you can start progressing, and before that it's all survival. So if you don't have shelter, food, water, etc, you can't make any meaningful progress.

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Well, it's not literally food, water and shelter, but it does touch the same subject. The thing is that, being an Action RPG, it means that a lot more focus lies in the fast-paced combat, progression and story-telling. But [i]before[/i] those things pick up several notches, it's going to be about some basic survival (during which the player learns about the game and whatnot). Then, the story unfolds and the survival part becomes easier to manage and not too distracting with regards to those three things, except that it will vex the player if he completely ignores it.

In terms of exploring the world outside of the main storyline, that will require [i]a lot[/i] more focus on the survival part. Also, in games like the Diablo series you never wanted to even pick up damaged, crude or low quality weapons (unless for money). But in Crude, those would be the standard and the perfect condition weapons are barely even found at all. And then you got the environment itself, not just constants such as water and food, but circumstantial challenges like radiation, ambushes, complete darkness, crippled limbs and more. Edited by DrMadolite

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