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Norman Barrows

political correctness and captured prisoners in rpg

21 posts in this topic

I'm working on a caveman fps / rpg / simulator.

 

in the game, one can attack to subdue, or to kill. similar to attack to subdue in original D&D.

 

subdued opponents can be captured (if you have a rope).

 

in the game, you can interact with everything in the environment (like in The SIMs), right down to the last plant, rock, tree, and bush (of significant size). This includes captured prisoners.

 

So when you capture a hostile caveman, and you walk up to them and select them by hitting the space bar, you get the "Captured caveman" menu:

 

Captured caveman...

Eat

Enslave
Free
Kill

Kill, then eat

Make live with mother-in-law
Rape
Tickle to death
Torture for information

Torture for no reason

etc

 

and then the "Torture caveman" menu...

Disembowel

Fart in general direction

Strip flesh

 

Wound

etc
 
 
well, this was the logical progression of the design based on the way the game works. you can attack anything to subdue. you can capture anything you subdue with a rope. you can interact with anything you capture, and perform any actions (within reason) that would be possible in reality (circa 40,000 BCE). Since its 40,000 B.C. (or so) there are no laws except the laws of the jungle. So actions like enslavement, rape, murder, torture, and cannibalism are all valid (yet politically incorrect) actions. 
 
when i originally ran into this design issue, I hummed and hawed for a week or two over what to do about it. Finally i decided to avoid the whole issue by simply making subdued hostile cavemen flee. you can run them down and kill them, but you can't capture them.
 
well, that's all fine and good, keep that PG rating and all that. But now I'm working on the quest generator, and its become apparent that kidnap and rescue quests will require captured cavemen.
 
So, now this opens up the whole "captured caveman menu" issue again. 
 
I could just let the player free or kill prisoners, but nothing else. on the other hand, realism is a selling point for the game, so things like torture, rape, murder, slavery, and cannibalism are appropriate for the simulation. I'm not interested in gratuitous sex or violence or explicit graphics, that's not what this game is about. Is there a way to model these without being too offensive?
 
torture for information has a place in the game related to quests. torturing a hostile to learn the location of his band.
 
murder has a place, in easily disposing of prisoners. besides we murder people everyday in computer games. I'm not really worried about this one.
 
slavery would open up a lot of gaming possibilities. sort of like having a hostile household member in The SIMs. you could order them around (clean that toilet!), but they'd try to leave at the first opportunity.  its also historically accurate, dating back to the dawn of recorded history and beyond.
 
cannibalism is realistic too. homo sapiens is just one of over 50 paleolithic species modeled in the game. and predators such as a Saber Toothed Tiger are equally happy munching on the carcass of a Wolley Rhino or a caveman. So the animals already eat cavemen anyway. Historical evidence shows it to have been practiced to a limited extent, usually in conjunction with ritualistic practices. But its also a survival strategy.  
 
rape doesn't have a major role at this time. it would affect mood and relations, and cause physical damage, but that's it. the game doesn't model mating and offspring yet.
 
so, what can be done?
 
what would be too much?
 
I'm not necessarily worried about keeping it a T for teen, vs a M for mature game, although it would be nice. not sure how one could do these things in a T rated game.
 
 
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You mention that it's a FPS/RPG/SIM so that would make me assume that the funnier actions aren't really a part of it and I would also assume that you're looking a 3D assets instead of facing sprites like old FPS games like DOOM and Wolfenstien.

 

Correct, and correct.  there are no plans to make hostile captured cavemen live with their mothers-in-law, etc <g>.

 

Yes this is a fully immersive 3D world. After 13 months  i've finally gotten enough completed that you can really start playing it. Its a complete little paleo-world, its really cool!

 

So with those 2 assumptions down, I'd say that this game wouldn't be getting anything less than a mature rating purely based off the subject matter; a "teen" rating just isn't going to happen.

 

Yeah, you're probably right. Oh well, its not really designed for kids anyway. previous versions were less realistic, so they never touched on these types of subjects. And there was not much in the way of blood graphics, resulting in a game suitable for teens.

I'm not planning on "dawn of the dead" graphics for this version either, the emphasis is on gameplay and simulator realism over

pretty pictures. 

 

If you do want to build in a breeding system, maybe make it so you have to bring those you captured back to your tribes camp and after a while they become members of tribe, thus making them a potential willing mate or even opening side quests needed to win the affections of potential mates? 

 

Already on the todo list.   : )

 

but probably for version 3.1.     : (

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Wow I'd really like to see this game in action, it sounds great.

 

 

hopefully it wont be too long.

 

i have to do the quest generators, a few small features, final graphics, audio, and play testing. I found a demo of the original version online, so i can just rip the audio from that for a start. But the game is already complete enough that i've been thinking i need to get some beta testers. but I test everything myself first, so usually the only feedback i ever get from testers is "no problems, works fine" (yeah - cause i tested it first), and "i like the new feature better than the way it used to do it" (well, that's why i put it in!).

 

I put a couple of screenshots up in my gallery, if you'd like to get an idea of what its like. Note that its still placeholder graphics, just 4 tiles for each ground texture, only 2 kinds of rock meshes and 4 rock textures, only one grass mesh and texture, plants aren't at random rotations, simple flat water quads for all water, etc.

 

but behind the primer paint job, lurks an entire little paleo-world you can interact with. its been 10 years since i last worked on this game and played it. I forgot how cool it is. You actually have to work to stay alive, and when you successfully make that first stone knife, you feel like GOD!  <g>

Edited by Norman Barrows
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i have to do the quest generators, a few small features, final graphics, audio, and play testing. I found a demo of the original version online, so i can just rip the audio from that for a start. But the game is already complete enough that i've been thinking i need to get some beta testers. but I test everything myself first, so usually the only feedback i ever get from testers is "no problems, works fine" (yeah - cause i tested it first), and "i like the new feature better than the way it used to do it" (well, that's why i put it in!).

 

 

your game sounds very cool. can you link the original demo? good luck

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your game sounds very cool. can you link the original demo? good luck

 

From: http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=18807&start=960

 

 


Re: Games you can't remember the title of.

icon_post_target.gifby samthetrue » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:14 am UTC

To clarify my earlier response:

It was a first person viewpoint for the main map and travel. 

I played it around 2002 on a win 2000, but I was savvy enough to use DOSBOX back then so who knows...

After about twelve hours of searching, I came up with a possible name for my own query... Caveman 1.3 by Rockland Software Productions

I can't actually tell if this is the same game. It has a similar appearance. Unfortunately this game was only available from the creator's website, which has since been replaced by a place holder website. I can't find any place to download it to confirm that it is that game, but it seems to fit... 

http://caveman.downloadaces.com/

Any suggestions on how to confirm this is it? I'd bet that it is... but until I can confirm it who knows...

 

 


Re: Games you can't remember the title of.

icon_post_target.gifby Jorpho » Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:20 am UTC

Permit me to rock your world:
http://liveweb.waybackmachine.org/http: ... daces.com/

You can't always get files that way, mind you, but you're in luck!
http://replay.waybackmachine.org/201104 ... man/cm.exe

 

I haven't downloaded it yet (50 mg file, cell modem, very weak/no signal), but i did start a DL once, and the link was active. 

 

This should be the demo version of Caveman v1.3. It lets you play characters for one game month, as i recall.

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Don't forget the entire image of "Caveman clubbing cavegirl on head"

 

 

 

What interests me is how you are balancing the intent of what could seem humour based actions i;e; tickle to death or torture by farting with the more serious actions such as cannibalism or rape (yes I noted you were dispensing with it). What I mean by this is how would I as a player be expected to react? Is there a deliberate step into satire for the game?

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Crusader Kings 2 is full of so called misogyny.... no big deal.  

 

Just put what you think should be in the game and don't worry about PC.

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What interests me is how you are balancing the intent of what could seem humour based actions i;e; tickle to death or torture by farting with the more serious actions such as cannibalism or rape (yes I noted you were dispensing with it). What I mean by this is how would I as a player be expected to react? Is there a deliberate step into satire for the game?

 

tickle to death and live with mother in law were just a joke.

 

the basic list is:

kill, followed by optional eat 

torture, for whatever reason or none at all

sexually assault

enslave

 

the previous version, being more of a god game like the sims vs a FPS/RPG like Skyrim, had a fair amount of humor in the animations, especially the "bitch" animation, where your character would yell at you, stamp their feet, wave their arm's and complain about something ("Its cold! , I'm hungry!, etc).

 

for the sexual assault action, it occurred to me that a "mate" menu option would be the clinical way to do it. you could even get crazy and add a "mate" action to the "dead caveman" menu for necrophilia.

 

but i don't plan on implementing the rape action.

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I think in regards to the sexual assault/sex or whatever else... There should simply be a list of actions which can include a generic "Have sex". Whether the other character consents to the act is a different matter. If for example that option is used on a regular tribes woman - she might decline, and the player can try again after buying presents or doing something else to increase the "Persuasion". The same mechanic could apply to anything really - Take item, Follow me, Do a barrel roll etc. Its all dependant on how much your character is capable of persuading the NPC. 

 

If you implemented actions which can affect the "Persuasion" value such as: Beat up, Threaten, Compliment, Restrain.. You could indirectly allow for actions like rape, theft etc. A character refuses to give up their prized knife? Beat them repeatedly to drive up the Persuasion value until they give it up.

 

In the case of prisoners/slaves - their Persuasion is probably so high from being attacked/captured that when you order them to do something - they won't object... And if they do - that can be corrected through a very general set of actions which don't touch on ethically sensitive issues as much.

 

Also opens up the possibility of treating your prisoners nicely so they don't run away? 

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Just have to say that for awhile I've been trying to think of how an "enslave" option would work in an RPG. Basically, like how in most RPGs the main character tends to cut a bloody path across the country and kill every enemy they meet. I've been thinking of how one could enslave enemies (and maybe get more money/use out of them). For the captured cavemen, what if you had some dedicated slave traders working with you? Instead of raping or eating your captives, they get dragged back to camp and put in cages. Then the slaver does his thing and later the player can go there to buy slaves or mates or "meat" from all the captives who didn't accept their new status as slaves. Conversly, depending on how "civilized" the slave dealing is and how the enemy faction relationships are, enemy cavemen could demand your surrender instead of killing you. Surrendering would then place you at the mercy of your enemy who could then abuse you or sell you to slavers. So, my recommendation would be to separate the combat from the rape, torture, or cannibalism. Captives get sent off to some slaver den where all the nasty stuff happens and you just buy the slaves, prostitutes, or meat at the end. If you want torture, maybe get a "job" at the slaver den and try to break uncooperative captives. Then, depending on your treatment of captives and slaves, that could change the enemy willingness to enslave rather than kill you. At lower civilization levels, the enemy will always try to kill, rape, or eat you and surrendering just gets you killed. At higher civilization levels, surrendering is more or less like getting sent to jail and you might have to do a bunch of work, endure indignity, escape, or pay off a big debt to earn your freedom. Of course, there is no guarantee everyone will agree on the "don't kill on sight" plan.
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Enslaving doesnt work too well if there is a lack of controllability (via threat of easy overpowering and punishment, restriction on movement/action, longterm mental adjustments that prevent consideration of contrary actions, etc...)  Caveman days was a little to freeflowing for alot of those things.

 

Caveman X is enslaved by Caveman Y and at first opportunity brains caveman Y with a convenient rock and make his escape.  Not too practical.  Stealing women might be more common but thats more adoption than enslavement.

 

 

BTW if multiple humans existed in the same local there WERE social conventions (even animals do this) so you might have to build up proper repercussion for 'taking things too far'  (and making it plain to the player )   That is actually were the complexity explodes in behavior mechanisms where you move up a magnitude.    To be closer to realistic there has to be 'history' not just reactions of the moment.  Things happen as a continuum where an action has results/effects that may last a long time - the overall situation has to be considered in motivations and reactions you can get.

 

---

 

Another avenue may be people who want to join you (strength in numbers and survival dependant on sharing resources).  A typical 'capital' punishment' in many nomadic societies would be exile where the environment was often such that it basicly WAS a death penalty.   It also might make you look more than twice at someone who comes along solo who cant provide an adaqute reason who MAY have been exiled and might not be the best candidate to join you ....

 

Another consideration is balance.  You COULD enslave that person but do you need them will they supply something you need or already have too much of.   One guy has 10 slaves (with little autonomy) and unless he is mean enough to cow them all sufficiently one might get the idea that with a few others they might easily overpower the master.     Too many women for one Caveman and it throws off the 'hunter gatherer' balance (he has to/cant hunt too much to maintain the nutritional balance to be flexible in the seasonal variations)

 

 

----

 

Something I formulated years ago - all social interactions are part of a negotiated agreement of some kind.   " I dont attack you and you dont attack me"  is one of the simplest.    Another is  "I join you and do what you say and I make use (and add to ) your resources."

 

It all is based on getting something you want/need and giving/supplying something in return that isnt too much.

Edited by creeper
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I think in regards to the sexual assault/sex or whatever else... There should simply be a list of actions which can include a generic "Have sex". Whether the other character consents to the act is a different matter. If for example that option is used on a regular tribes woman - she might decline, and the player can try again after buying presents or doing something else to increase the "Persuasion". The same mechanic could apply to anything really - Take item, Follow me, Do a barrel roll etc. Its all dependant on how much your character is capable of persuading the NPC. 
 
If you implemented actions which can affect the "Persuasion" value such as: Beat up, Threaten, Compliment, Restrain.. You could indirectly allow for actions like rape, theft etc. A character refuses to give up their prized knife? Beat them repeatedly to drive up the Persuasion value until they give it up.

 

Yes, at the moment the game only models attack to subdue, and relations between friendlies and the player's band members. once subdued and captured, there would then need to be some additional step or modeling required to do the persuadable / convertible captive thing.

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For the captured cavemen, what if you had some dedicated slave traders working with you?

 

this would work great in your standard caveman themed rpg where you made up the rules. unfortunately, this is a caveman simulator. if it didn't actually exist, it doesn't go in, except for the "Bring on the dinos!" option. a number of features from the original version such as settlements and monoliths (a la 2001) were removed as unrealistic. The game includes over 50 representative species of extinct mega fauna. There have been 3 versions made, requiring a total of 5-6 years development time of which 2 years was research.

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BTW if multiple humans existed in the same local there WERE social conventions (even animals do this) so you might have to build up proper repercussion for 'taking things too far'  (and making it plain to the player )   That is actually were the complexity explodes in behavior mechanisms where you move up a magnitude.    To be closer to realistic there has to be 'history' not just reactions of the moment.  Things happen as a continuum where an action has results/effects that may last a long time - the overall situation has to be considered in motivations and reactions you can get.

 

Yes i'm beginning to think there should be modeling of "degrees of hostility", not just friendlies with a relationship rating like The SIMs, and hostiles who attack on sight. right now a negative relationship just means more work til they're friendly enough to do things like trade or travel with you, etc. IE they don't attack you or anything like that, and you can't throw insults like in the sims.

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Another avenue may be people who want to join you (strength in numbers and survival dependant on sharing resources).  A typical 'capital' punishment' in many nomadic societies would be exile where the environment was often such that it basicly WAS a death penalty.   It also might make you look more than twice at someone who comes along solo who cant provide an adaqute reason who MAY have been exiled and might not be the best candidate to join you ....

 

when relations with a friendly are good enough, you can get them as a traveling companion (like a henchman or flunky). when relations with a travelling companion are good enough, you can get them to join your band, like joining your household in he sims. the player can control a band of up to 10 cavemen, and can tab between them at any time. so one may be out hunting, while another is 10 mile away gathering berries, while a third is back at the cave making arrows for the hunter, and a forth band member has gone to the nearby lake for a swim.

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Factors have to be made overt and solutions not too subtle

 

Wasnt it Tropico that had  objects you built that coersed control of 'slaves'

 

With cavemen it would have to be fairly simple. many of the things discussed sound more like things that would be there in a villager level of social organization

 

 

---

 

 

A historical factor is that nearby peoples from the local group (Cave #217)  often had relatives in them and  the blood ties would have a whole lot more impact on how people behaved

Edited by wodinoneeye
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A historical factor is that nearby peoples from the local group (Cave #217)  often had relatives in them and  the blood ties would have a whole lot more impact on how people behaved

 

yes, the whole inter-band rivalry modeling thing has yet to be settled. it, raiding, resource depletion, mating, blood ties, captured prisoners, etc, are all tied up together.

 

at the low level, modeling mating and blood ties is required. as well as taking captives. raiding based on nearby hostile bands and resource depletion based on nearby bands (hostile or friendly) are already modeled. however, modeling mating is not required to implement capturing prisoners. so a basic implementation of captives that doesn't model the blood ties thing could be done. right now things in the game are very all or nothing, badguys shoot on sight. it would be more realistic to have rival bands that could become enemies or friends. like relations for bands, in addition to relations between individual PC's and NPC's. sounds like a job for a politics engine to me. each band would be a faction.

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