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glhf

evil and good choices in singleplayer rpg

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[quote name='slicksk8te' timestamp='1348684576' post='4984059']
A good reference for this type of good vs evil play is in the new shooter Spec Ops: The Line.
I have not played it myself, but it seems that the choices you make in the game are neither right or wrong.
And each choice has consequences that effect the story and game.

I think this style could be adapted to work with RPGs really well because the player does not know all the outcomes up front.
In my opinion, having obvious outcomes(i.e "you get gold for killing this person and a friend if you don't") to all decisions makes the choices really boring and tailored to good and evil.
[/quote]

I'm gonna need an example still though to understand what you're talking about exactly.

You can't expect me to buy that game and play it just to be able to continue this discussion..
Although I will definitly check that game out..

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[quote name='DaveTroyer' timestamp='1348681604' post='4984029']
So more closely to the original topic...

What if you had an RPG, or any game really, where you play as 2 different characters, alternating between them on each level.

Say on level 1, the player makes the first character push over a box to cross a gap.
Then, on level 2, the player has to make the second character save someone who will be crushed by that same box being pushed by the first character.

This would could be taken to more extremes where the player is only shown part of a story. Such as character one is tasked with killing a goblin while the second character needs to collect the food the slain goblin was taking back to his starving family.

Essentially, creating situations that are seen as good acts, only to see them in a different light on the next level. This would help to illustrate that good and evil characteristics are just a matter of perspective, which I find pretty dang interesting...

But I agree with a lot of others above in that if the game play is adequately fun and compliments the story, "good" and "bad" players both enjoy the game regardless of the characters alignment.
[/quote]

It sounds like an agreat idea but it out of top of my head it feel it's gonna be hard to make a game out of it.

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[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348684930' post='4984061']
You can't expect me to buy that game and play it just to be able to continue this discussion..
Although I will definitly check that game out..
[/quote]

True as I do not own the game either.

[quote name='slicksk8te' timestamp='1348684576' post='4984059']
And each choice has consequences that effect the story and game.
[/quote]
I was wrong here in the fact that it does not effect the story/game directly but what the story means. See this review [url="http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/06/26/spec-ops-the-line-review"]here[/url]. I think it does a pretty good job of explaining the game.
The important part is that it brings up the idea of no right or wrong. This creates an emotional conundrum because there are consequences for everything regardless of the choice you make.

Again I think that the important thing here is subtlety because when you make the choices good or evil it makes the player feel obligated to choice a side where if you just offered choices with no obvious good or bad it makes the player rely on what they would do in the situation. I think this pulls the player in to the story more and makes the story feel more believable.

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[quote name='DaveTroyer' timestamp='1348681604' post='4984029']
So more closely to the original topic...

What if you had an RPG, or any game really, where you play as 2 different characters, alternating between them on each level.

Say on level 1, the player makes the first character push over a box to cross a gap.
Then, on level 2, the player has to make the second character save someone who will be crushed by that same box being pushed by the first character.

This would could be taken to more extremes where the player is only shown part of a story. Such as character one is tasked with killing a goblin while the second character needs to collect the food the slain goblin was taking back to his starving family.

Essentially, creating situations that are seen as good acts, only to see them in a different light on the next level. This would help to illustrate that good and evil characteristics are just a matter of perspective, which I find pretty dang interesting...

But I agree with a lot of others above in that if the game play is adequately fun and compliments the story, "good" and "bad" players both enjoy the game regardless of the characters alignment.
[/quote]

That could probably work really well as a short flash platformer. (Seems like something a good writer could turn into something interesting without requiring very complex gameplay)

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[quote name='slicksk8te' timestamp='1348686001' post='4984068']
[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348684930' post='4984061']
You can't expect me to buy that game and play it just to be able to continue this discussion..
Although I will definitly check that game out..
[/quote]

True as I do not own the game either.

[quote name='slicksk8te' timestamp='1348684576' post='4984059']
And each choice has consequences that effect the story and game.
[/quote]
I was wrong here in the fact that it does not effect the story/game directly but what the story means. See this review [url="http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/06/26/spec-ops-the-line-review"]here[/url]. I think it does a pretty good job of explaining the game.
The important part is that it brings up the idea of no right or wrong. This creates an emotional conundrum because there are consequences for everything regardless of the choice you make.

Again I think that the important thing here is subtlety because when you make the choices good or evil it makes the player feel obligated to choice a side where if you just offered choices with no obvious good or bad it makes the player rely on what they would do in the situation. I think this pulls the player in to the story more and makes the story feel more believable.
[/quote]

Hmm, That review doesn't help too much..
But I think I understand.. It's also easier I think to make that kind of choices in a game like that.. realistic warzone game.

Like for example..

Finding some civilians..
1. Die trying to protect them
2. Leave them to die.

I don't think either of those are really evil..
I guess 1 could be considered heroic but not really.. it's just unintelligent and foolish.
I think a intelligent but not evil choice would be number 2.

I think choices like this would be boring... I still wouldnt feel like im doing anything evil/twisted/badass things.

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[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348687251' post='4984075']
Finding some civilians..
1. Die trying to protect them
2. Leave them to die.
[/quote]

I do agree this is an obvious choice, but I think it would be interesting if a game explored moral choices like [url="http://listverse.com/2007/10/21/top-10-moral-dilemmas/"]these[/url]. As this blurs the line between right and wrong,

But as you said:
[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348687251' post='4984075']
I still wouldnt feel like im doing anything evil/twisted/badass things.
[/quote]

This hits an important point about knowing your audience. In most instances, players don't want to make a choice without obvious answers/rewards because it brings the player to "What's the point of the choice?". I think this is an interesting concept that I do not know the answer to. How do you give the player 'meaningful' choice?

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I agree with slicksk8te about knowing your audience. I think your evil/good choices should depend on the kind of game you're going for and the kind of audience you're trying to reach.

If I played a game with fun, interesting combat mechanics, but I was being nagged with decisions where I could barely make out what would happen based on my choice, then I would probably end up saying "ugh, another choice...I wish I could just bash some skulls without having to worry about what choice I make".

However, another player might think "ugh, a huge encampment of skeletons...now I have to beat them all to a pulp before I can get to backstabbing this guy and taking the treasure for myself..."

Some players will like to think about the best way to respond to a specific NPC, and others will wish they'd just know what to say to get the best outcome for their character's needs. Some players will prefer more talking and outsmarting NPCs, whereas others will prefer more fighting and looting.

To me, the kinds of ideas here seem to be catering more to the side of people who like deep choices and not knowing exactly what's going to happen next. Personally, I usually prefer the fighting and equipment customization parts of RPGs, so I'd like to just know what's going to happen for the sake of my character's needs.

So, I think how far you go with your dialog and action choices should relate closely to the audience you're trying to reach.

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Personally, I kind of enjoy the 'looting' aspect of RPGs. Namely, if I'm going to invade some bandit camp then I want to be able to grab everything not nailed down or on fire, then pry up and extinguish the ones that are.

If I could 'enslave' some of my enemies and use them for pack mules to carry the loot back to sell (and then sell off the enslaved enemies) then I would probably do it. The only real limiters is how unsavory the people I'd have to make these deals with and the difficulty of moving the slaves around.

I'm actually reminded of the game [url="http://www.spacepiratesandzombies.com/"]Space Pirates and Zombies[/url] where you can destroy enemy space ships, then scoop up the escape pods and recruit the survivors into your pirate crew and dump the ones who complain out the airlock (actually, its kind of expected since 'goons' are a resource right along the material used to build ships), there is a technology tree you can research to increase the percentage of those you recruit vs the ones airlocked but I tend to put more points into weapons and such.

So, if there was an RPG that allowed capturing your enemies as slaves (or maybe vampire cattle or whatever) then it would be interesting. I'm sure there would be plenty of of players using it to grab civilians and innocents and whatever (obvioulsy) but if it could be used alongside or instead of the 'kill everyone and loot their stuff' often seen in RPGs then it would be a nice change. Perhaps some of the 'good guys' ask you to go to a bandit camp and capture as many as possible to bring them back so they can serve their sentance.

The only real difference between grabbing crimminals to bring to prison and have them work on chain gangs, and selling innocent civilians into slavery is who is the 'buyer' and who your target is.

You could have similar 'enslaving' missions one run by the good guys to grab bandits and one run by slavers to grab whoever. They don't have to be 'good' or 'evil' just that one mission gives you reputation with the police and gets you hated by bandits while the other gets reputation with slavers and hated by civilians.

Though the act of keeping all these captured prisoners in line could lead to moral questions. Things like beating them up, using magic to mind control them, fitting them with explosive collars, lying to them, or whatever you have to do. Also, being sure to have your own team fitted with the weapons to keep them in line and make them think twice about trying to break free.

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Also, another thing about moral dilemma in video games is that often you can just reload a previous save if you die. The 'die trying to protect the civilians' option isn't really viable when you can't really 'die' and you're just a 'continue' button away from trying the mission over to get it right.

I suspect games with a permadeath option would discourage people from just going for the 'heroic' path and keep reloading from saves until they complete the mission. If risking your live to save an NPC carried the real risk of the death of your character it would have more meaning.

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I agree with the permadeath option to give more risk to the game, but it also discourages the player from doing anything because if they spent so much work on a character and suddenly died, most players would drop the game and never play it again.
Instead I think that the player can die but you get revived right after the quest and you cannot go back. This ensures that you only have one chance at it and if you fail, you do not get the ultimate punishment of permadeath but rather a hardy slap on the wrist.

Of course this can get frustrating but I think there needs to be more risk in games. If there is no risk there is no 'true' reward to finishing the quest.

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[quote name='Sir Mac Jefferson' timestamp='1348620200' post='4983818']
I don't like it when I'm given a list of things to say to an NPC, but I don't have a clear recognition on just how each choice will affect me. If I'm going to have the choice to be evil, neutral, or good, I'd like to know clearly what I get from each choice.
[/quote]

So true. I'd rather have an anti-heroic protagonist who picks all the (wrong) moral choices for me, than me having to choose an answer without being able to negotiate on the outcome.

Also, too many choices make your plot an ugly, tangled mess, I think. If you do decide to include 'extreme' moral options, be sure that the player gets the 'psychological maximum' out of it - without leading him too far from the main plot.

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Quick point I'd like to make here.

There are some games, maybe RPGs, or maybe not, where players get to do the evil stuff as well. Even though it's not a choice. Take a look at Dungeon Keeper or Evil Genius. They both are RTS game, and it's all about being evil. So then, the choice is not , "good or evil", but instead the choice is "how evil you wanna be". Similar thing with Overlord, an RPG game. And some others.

Will this fit your boat better ?

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[quote name='PyrZern' timestamp='1349638199' post='4987747']
Quick point I'd like to make here.

There are some games, maybe RPGs, or maybe not, where players get to do the evil stuff as well. Even though it's not a choice. Take a look at Dungeon Keeper or Evil Genius. They both are RTS game, and it's all about being evil. So then, the choice is not , "good or evil", but instead the choice is "how evil you wanna be". Similar thing with Overlord, an RPG game. And some others.

Will this fit your boat better ?
[/quote]

Good question..

I would for sure enjoy it if its well done but i didnt like overlord it felt too childish kindof.
I loved darkness 2 at least.

But I think I would enjoy it more if theres a choice between good and evil because of what we agreed on in this thread its i dunno how to explain..
its just feels greater doing an evil thing when you had a choice to be good instead.

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I'm not a big fan of evil quest options in RPGs really. It's not because I'm afraid to be evil, but rather that the evil options are often embarrassingly contrived and make no real actual sense. They're just there so your character can be "evil" in the most shallow and superficial sense of the concept.

The other problem is that this polarised system totally breaks as soon as your evil character would be advantaged by taking "heroic" dialogue options disingenuously, which in reality, would actually be happening all the time unless they're a moron.

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[quote name='multiplang' timestamp='1350000728' post='4989315']
evil options are often embarrassingly contrived and make no real actual sense
[/quote]

I totally agree with this. It always seems developers put it in because they feel they have to.

[quote name='multiplang' timestamp='1350000728' post='4989315']
this polarised system totally breaks as soon as your evil character would be advantaged by taking "heroic" dialogue options
[/quote]

This is why good and evil in video games is essentially broken these days. Plus as the link from my previous post explains, there is no consequences for doing the heroic or evil choices. That is it does not matter which is chosen except for the immediate reward. This hits on a topic that has kind of disappointed me about the game industry, most games lack real depth.[img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/sad.png[/img]

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