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Norman Barrows

rpg: what's left once you're high level?

73 posts in this topic

what do you do in an rpg once you've done the quests and cleared the dungeons? go buy the next version?

 

in Oblivion for example, the quests are all canned, hard coded - same every time you play them. 

 

besides that, you can sack dungeons for treasure (money and magic).

 

but you can also make your own magic items. do the 5 quests to get into the arcane university. goto bravil and buy chameleon spell. make chameleon gear. game over, you're invisible and can still attack!

 

and gold? use it to recharge magic items, when you don't have soul gems to do so. buy horses to replace the ones constantly getting killed out from under you. thats about it for uses. you can blow it on a house, but there are free beds and free containers that don't respawn everywhere.

 

in classic D&D, once you got to high level, you could build a castle (requiring about 10 dungeon adventures worth of gold minimum), hired troops (one dungeon adventure's worth of treasure every couple game months), equiped them (this could get really expensive, almost as much as a castle for the best gear), and then could proceed to conquer the world (if you chose to do so).

 

i'm working on an rpg title now, and i've come to the point of what happens when the player gets to "high level".

 

 

 

 

 

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Become a politician running a clan more serious than reality itself and brag with your magical sword of doom of which only one exists in the whole server, i guess.

People like trying to break limits. Split the world into few big factions/clans. Let the high level players run those and fight each other, while the lower level players are still learning to grind more efficiently.

Let factions customize the world. Their flags, building styles. Let them repair burned down areas to gain advantage and loyalty. (and of course all the work is done by the pros, you cant build without immense amounts of magical potions...)

Implement all sorts of fancy metagames accessible at higher levels...
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In an ideal world, single-player RPGs would have a distinct ending, and the player who got there would feel satisfied to have completed that game, and yes they'd have a new version ready for them to move onto, though they might take a week off in between.  Economic forces seem opposed to this, though.  Games with a new game plus feature can be appealing but only if it's actually possible to change how the plot goes to experience a different version of the story, with a better ending.  And if the difficulty isn't way too easy.

 

Multiplayer games, eh, there is currently no way for content development to keep up with demand,  If you have a big enough game you can devote a portion of the content to sim and minigame play, which have innately more replayability than an RPG.  Or you can cultivate user-made content, so there's always a trickle of new stuff appearing.  I don't personally like either raiding or pvp, so I can't really comment on their replay value.

Edited by sunandshadow
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I think the lack of decay might have something to do with it. Let's say your skills wear off or an enemy retakes positions if you are no longer there to support the friendlies. This would give the players more to do since he/she would have to keep skills fresh and enemies at bay. Putting an epic storyline into such an environment can be tricky though. What would be the point of going to Mordor when Sauron pops up again after a week?

Edited by mipmap
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I am of the opinion, ESPECIALLY IN RPG's, that if the player has exhausted what the game has to offer, then it is time for user-generated content to become relevant and for players to exhaust other player's content, which is pretty much infinite if the game is as big as the Elder Scrolls series or the Half-Life series, among others. Another of my opinions is that if the story is constructed as non-linear fragments, the possibilities become endless for expansions, even micro-expansions, and are not limited by a linear continuous story.

 

EDIT: Another exciting opportunity made possible only recently with newer processors is real-time procedural generation of quality content. I have seen procedurally generated graphics that are stunning. There is a blog by programmer Miguel Cepero called Procedural World that involves his server farm generating amazing structures and terrains on-the-fly. There is already a game called Anteworld made with a custom engine called Outerra that simulates the entire Earth using procedural fractal algorithms that are based on Earth's continents.

Edited by MrJoshL
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lots of good responses here. as expected.

 

allow me to tie this in with a few related threads to provide some context.

 

the game is a caveman simulator rpg.

 

single player only.

 

procedurally generated world, 2500 x 2500 miles in size.

 

it was originally a D&D type RPG translated to a caveman setting. you had the wilderness for wilderness adventure, caverns were dungeons, and settlements provided city adventure. no classes, levels, or overall exp, just exp levels in various skills. interface was a god game, like the sims, with first person shooter combat, cavern, and settlement adventure. 

 

it has now evolved into a VR paleoworld simulator. with an emphasis on realism. About 50 representative extinct megafauna species modeled so far (Mammoth hunt anyone?). 

 

as for procedurally generated gameplay content, it has a quest generator which will provide most/almost all of the types of quests that make sense for the setting.

this thread was the discussion of how to design it:

 

http://www.gamedev.net/topic/638940-types-of-quests/

 

BTW, sunandshadow: i think we never did get flow control nailed down. if you check the thread, you'll see what i mean.

 

 

 

this thread asks the same basic question from the point of view of the game itself, as opposed to RPGs in general:

 

http://www.gamedev.net/topic/641212-raiding-and-inter-band-rivalry-in-caveman-simulator/

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Become a politician running a clan more serious than reality itself and brag with your magical sword of doom of which only one exists in the whole server, i guess.

 

yeah, this is the direction i'm going at the moment, raiding and inter-band rivalry. see the thread link above.

 

People like trying to break limits. Split the world into few big factions/clans. Let the high level players run those and fight each other, while the lower level players are still learning to grind more efficiently.

 

yes, alliances, tribes, nation states, and inter-tribal warfare seem to be the logical progression.

 

but it doesn't just have to be conquer the world by sword, one should also be able to conquer with culture and other non-violent means.

 

Implement all sorts of fancy metagames accessible at higher levels...

 

any examples?

 

perhaps arena combat for famous warriors?

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In any game, RPG or otherwise, the player is going to run out of stuff to do.

 

i suppose you're right, although some games have so much content the average user never sees it all (how many levels are there in Galaga?).

 

maybe i'm spoiled, having been raised on paper and pencil rgs before the PC was invented. there you had a DM to provide never ending non-repeating content.

 

Additionally, you could provide the ability for players to mod the game to some extent.

 

i'm thinking that i'll provide all the game building tools with the game for free, or as a free separate download for interested players.

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the game is a caveman simulator rpg.
 
single player only.
 
procedurally generated world, 2500 x 2500 miles in size.

What is the "depth" of the game and gameplay?

Will the world be pre-baked or generated on-the-fly from "seed" values?

Depending on the depth of the game I would recommend different options.

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In an ideal world, single-player RPGs would have a distinct ending, and the player who got there would feel satisfied to have completed that game, and yes they'd have a new version ready for them to move onto, though they might take a week off in between.

 

well, at the moment it has no hard coded storyline campaign(s) in it, although i have been contemplating adding some. many players seem to like having the goals (something to do) that quests and campaigns provide, rather than coming up with their own goals in an open ended world.

 

originally it had no back story whatsoever. the tentative backstory for this version is: just of age, sole survivor of raid, no skills, no gear, no friends, go for it! (the game is largely about survival).

 

right now, the endgame condition is death of all player band members by whatever means. like the sims, individual band members (sims) may come and go, but the band (the household) and the game continues til there are no more band members (sims in the household).

 

until storyline campaigns are added, there's not really a storyline to follow to achieve closure. but i know that feeling of satisfaction of which you speak, where you lean back in your chair and think, "damn, that was a good game!".  i really think that epic grand storyline capiagns could add a lot to the game.   i've already started some research on the subject.  but is been so long since i read the classics, like gilgamesh, beowulf (in middle engish, its the ONLY way!), silmarillion, homer, etc. 

 

If you have a big enough game you can devote a portion of the content to sim and minigame play, which have innately more replayability than an RPG.

 

any examples? the title is single player, but MMO ideas may apply.

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If you have a big enough game you can devote a portion of the content to sim and minigame play, which have innately more replayability than an RPG.

 

to improve replayability, an entirely new world is generated each time you start a new game, from the oceans and continents, down to the location, scale, and rotation of each and every last tree, plant, and rock.

 

nothing is hard coded. all encounters are random, except for encounters triggered near shelters and near opponents in caverns. and even there, shelter occupants are randomly generated at game start, and caverns (and the encounter points in them)  are generated as needed the first time the player enters the cavern. 

 

so its different every time you play, and even I as developer don't know what will happen next, or what's around the next corner. i've always built my games this way. probably because i build what i want to play, and can't find out there already. and if it was hard coded, i'd know what was coming next, and it would be no fun for me to play.

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If you have a big enough game you can devote a portion of the content to sim and minigame play, which have innately more replayability than an RPG.

any examples? the title is single player, but MMO ideas may apply.


Fishing, farming, blacksmithing/armorcrafting, and gambling are some of the most obvious sim/minigame opportunities in an RPG. Harvest Moon is the classic example of a farming sim RPG. Sandboxy crafting MMOs like A Tale in the Desert and Wurm Online are a different type of sim farming, and casual games like Plant Tycoon, Ranch Rush, and Plantasia are the third kind. Overall, the idea is that the player spends a session micromanaging plants to get their products for crafting, magical, aesthetic customization, or monetary uses, instead of advancing their progress through the RPG, which slows their pace through the main game without making them bored. Many farming games also include the player building a house and outbuildings for themselves, primarily as crafting infrastructure.

As far as fishing, I rather like GaiaOnline's version, as it's a challenging minigame requiring both dexterity and strategy. The caught fish can either be processed into various fish-themed armor and weapons, or placed into a fish tank where tending them causes them to produce useful resources (or they can be battled and bred like pokemon or tactical units in other set-ups.)

Blacksmithing/armorcrafting lends itself well to a speedpuzzle game (tetris, match-3, frozen bubble, breakout, timed word games, shooting gallery) or a turn-based puzzle game (crafting minigames in Puzzle Pirates, mahjongg, etc.) The higher the score on an individual game play, the better the crafting turns out on an individual item the player wants to make. In some cases scores can be saved and then applied at leisure to items being crafted. This type of game might also award bonus prizes like consumables and crafting resources.

For gambling, Triple Triad and the Golden Saucer (assortment of games including racing chocobos, snowboarding, and combat gauntlet) in the Final Fantasy series are the most creative examples; simpler things like poker or dice against NPCs and virtual slot machines are very common. Playing directly for money is usually less interesting then playing for a secondary currency that is the only way to buy unique prizes.


As for the classic stories, personally I'm bored of that kind of RPG story, but that's a matter of personal taste. Edited by sunandshadow
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What is the "depth" of the game and gameplay?

 

if i understand your question correctly, pretty deep.

 

it models everything. well, you know what i mean.

windage effects on arrow flight, driven by the weather engine.

background radiation and aging (background radiation gets us all in the end).

 

ok, you asked for it...

 

a 2500 x 2500 mile randomly generated world

 

strength
intelligence
dexterity
constitution
charisma
speed
 
food
water
sleep
mood
damage
has_disease
hygiene
fatigue
social
interests
 

using tracking to find or avoid encounters

using stealth to increase chance of surprise

attack to subdue

using (wearing) camouflage

gravity

sneak mode

nets, entangling, and escaping

climbing cliffs and vertical surfaces

traps and trapping

effects of psychotropics

gods

relations between PCs and NPCs

NPC interests and possible specializations (trader, healer, etc)

weather engine, water tables and flooding, snow accumulation

talking to NPCs

47 (or so) different skills and experience in each

50 representative species of actual extinct megafauna modeled so far including avains, plus a "bring on the dinos!" option. i know, unrealistic. thats why its an option. i already removed the monolith from 2001 that was in the original version.

234 types of objects so far, all of which you can make or find, many of which you can inspect their condition, and repair them. 

about 64 of those objects are weapons, or tools that can also be used as a weapon.

armor is also included in those 234 objects.

5 terrain elevations from ocean to impassable mountains

8 types of vegetation coverage, from sandy desert to lush jungle.

caves, rock shelters, huts, volcanoes, tar pits, caverns, rocks, berry bushes, fruit trees, cliffs, canyons

100 generic action handlers for an estimated 1000+ actions in the game. like the sims you can interact with everything in the environment. swim, sing, stargaze, make tools and weapons, etc.

rafts and sailing across oceans (hey man! keep paddling!)

capturing subdued animals and cavemen

domesticating captured animals (dire wolf only)

natural resources and resource depletion 

global warming and cooling and changes to the environment

fatigue due to damage

fatigue due to encumberance

encumberance rules

container rules (need sacks, waterskins, etc)

taking over caves, rock shelters, and huts

climbing trees to escape animals

animals that can climb up trees after you!

everything affects mood, mood affects how fast you do stuff

encounter tables based on terrain type (no wolley mammoths in the desert)

movement effect on hygiene

fires, fires going out, fires getting out of control and starting wildfires

healing of traveling companions, tamed animals, and hired warriors

torches and torches going out

dehydration

disease

food spoilage

dropped food spoilage

storage pits, storage pit raids

exposure

heatstroke

extra caloric intake required in cold weather

natural disasters

volcanic eruptions

drowning in floods

wear and tear of equipment. every object has a quality level 0-100%.

captured animals escaping

hiring warriors

raids on your band's shelters

creeks and waterholes filling and drying up

starvation

getting sick (bacterial / viral infection)

weathering effects on shelters

weathering effects on storage pits

background radiation, old age, death

cave/rock shelter recent signs of occupancy and cave/rock shelter  abandonment

weathering effects on rafts

NPC inventories for trading

 

thats just a quick list, it does even more. last time i counted there were almost 2 dozen ways to die, only two of which were from combat.

 

the scope of the game has become so great that i'm not sure exactly how many actions, weapons, types of armor, etc there are.

 

i just added realistic cave and rockshelter population densities, up to 200 per 5x5 mile map square, and got this error:

 

1>LINK : fatal error LNK1248: image size (C28C3000) exceeds maximum allowable size (80000000)

 

so, yeah, you might say its a big game. <g>.

 

to fix that i had to resort to paging the lists of shelters in a  5 x 5 mile map square off of disk. LRU, 10 buffer cache, with dirty flag for save as needed when paging.

 

i was hoping to get away with no paging or loading during play. it loads everything up at program start (about 10 seconds) and thats it. right now, it only pages the list of shelters, and the local player maps. no slowdowns so far.  walk 2500 miles across the world with no hitches, load screens, "Loading area..." messages, etc.

 

 

Will the world be pre-baked or generated on-the-fly from "seed" values?

 

 

neither, true random. seed based on current time at new game start. seeds mean repeatability. and repeatability means predictability, which is a bad thing for replayability.

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the game is a caveman simulator rpg.
 
single player only.
 
procedurally generated world, 2500 x 2500 miles in size.
 
it was originally a D&D type RPG translated to a caveman setting. you had the wilderness for wilderness adventure, caverns were dungeons, and settlements provided city adventure. no classes, levels, or overall exp, just exp levels in various skills. interface was a god game, like the sims, with first person shooter combat, cavern, and settlement adventure. 
 
it has now evolved into a VR paleoworld simulator. with an emphasis on realism. About 50 representative extinct megafauna species modeled so far (Mammoth hunt anyone?). 
 
as for procedurally generated gameplay content, it has a quest generator which will provide most/almost all of the types of quests that make sense for the setting.
this thread was the discussion of how to design it:
 
http://www.gamedev.net/topic/638940-types-of-quests/
 
BTW, sunandshadow: i think we never did get flow control nailed down. if you check the thread, you'll see what i mean.

Oh oops, missed this post. By flow control did you mean the part about "goal -> (leads to) actions -> condition checks" vs. quests emerging from a political situation? Or something else?

Take my opinions with a grain of salt because I don't have the same design goals you do, and it's natural to give advice suited to my design goals than others that conflict a bit with mine.

I like stories with a paleolithic or neolithic setting, but the ones I like are never about tribal conflict. They are about micro-politics within the tribe (compare to school dramas like Lord of the Flies, The Chocolate War, War of the Buttons, and funnier things like The Breakfast Club, Uninhabited Planet Survive) with a heavy element of romance, and also about technological innovation and the artistic/spiritual urge to experiment and innovate. In this kind of setting goals would be divided between "prosperity goals" (crafting/building, obtaining food, healing sick tribe members, and increasing reputation) and "personal problem fixing" (resolving NPC grudges, old guilts/embarrassments, unrequited crushes, bullying, orphans who need to be placed with parents, misfits who could use help moving to a new tribe, unvalued tribe members who can be taught a skill to make them more appreciated and raise their self esteem, courting one or more spouses for oneself, etc.) This is a very character-centric world, so most of the quests would originate from the frustrated desires and unfulfilled needs of NPCs. Instead of generating all the world at once, if you really want such a big world I'd break it up into territories with one tribe each. Then you would have the option to make any individual tribal territory be either generated or pre-created. Each one could have short stories (quest-chains) that were mostly self-contained to that territory and non-linear to everything else. Though, personally I'd prefer to have a small number of carefully designed tribes with deep stories rather than lots of shallower ones.
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Fishing, farming, blacksmithing/armorcrafting, and gambling are some of the most obvious sim/minigame opportunities in an RPG.

 

fishing is already in there, using 12 different tools, from hands to wood gore to nets to bone tipped fishing spears. but no fish traps yet. just added them to the todo list. just when i think i've got everything in there, someone comes up with another one. the other day my neighbor pointed out that i didn't have boomerangs yet. still figuring out how to implement the "catch" part on that one.  fishing yields meat. shell is a separate resource that's gathered and used primarily in the manufacture of armor.

 

since the setting is paleolithic, not neolithic, there's no agriculture or domestication of animals (sorry sunandshadow, i know you love these!). you CAN attack to subdue, capture,  and tame dire wolves. and i have a whole slew of "pet" actions to implement still. i'd like to make tamed wolves a true "virtual pet" in the game, like an animal NPC sidekick. perhaps even get into stat for pets and breeding. if i can bring  tear to the player's eye when their wolf dies, i will have done my job. that takes some really good behavior modeling though, to make the wolf realistic enough for the player to become attached to them. but it is something i want to do. wolf was man's first ally in the fight for survival at the dawn of man.

 

but other than that, i've had to make a difficult decision to limit the game to hunter gather societies only. despite getting fan mail begging for a neolithic version. 

 

armorcrafting is in there. everything in the game, you find or make. you can also trade for stuff, but nothing that you can't make or find (with the right skills, tools, and/or parts). the only exception are the six unique god artifact objects in the game - can't make them. so all tool, armor, shelter, raft, cooking, etc, making things are in there. if you could build or make it in real life, odds are its in there already. but they aren't minigames, they're simply another action, like microwaving dinner in the sims. you undertake the action, an animation shows you performing the action, and then you speed up the simulation and wait for your stew to cook or for your stone knife to be finished, or your fire to start, or whatever. chance of success, and the quality of the resulting product are a function of skills, quality of parts and tools used, etc. so making a decent spear can become quite a quest unto itself.  you have to research all the skills, which requires tools and parts, all of which you have to find or make or trade for. then you need the parts and tools to make the spear itself, which again you must find, make, or trade for. and not just any parts and tools will do. you want high quality. so the parts used to make tools must also be of high quality, and so on.

 

gambling is one of the possible specialties of friendly NPCs. When the decision was made to go for realism, settlements had to go, as they were neolithic, not paleolithic. So all the healer, trader, gambler, storyteller, teacher, and other "city adventure" actions had to be handled by other means. Therefore, friendly cavemen got a chance of having a specialty such as healing, storytelling, or being a trader.

 

 

 

As for the classic stories, personally I'm bored of that kind of RPG story, but that's a matter of personal taste.

 

really, you think?

 

it seems to me that the storylines in many games pale in comparison to the classics. but then again, they are the same sort of stories (plot? theme? you're the writer, help me out! <g>), so i can see how they could be construed as "more of the same".

 

any suggestions for other sources of inspiration? i figured that timeless classics would be a good model to study.

 

or should i be starting from scratch? with no preconceived notions of how things should be ?

Edited by Norman Barrows
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armorcrafting is in there. everything in the game, you find or make. you can also trade for stuff, but nothing that you can't make or find (with the right skills, tools, and/or parts). the only exception are the six unique god artifact objects in the game - can't make them. so all tool, armor, shelter, raft, cooking, etc, making things are in there. if you could build or make it in real life, odds are its in there already. but they aren't minigames, they're simply another action, like microwaving dinner in the sims.

The big advantage of minigames is that they are a different kind of gameplay than the larger game they are in - usually they are faster-paced, a lot of strategy or puzzle-solving and twitch-reflexes in a short time. They help keep the player from getting bored with the main kind of gameplay by letting them do something different for a while. Microwaving dinner in the sims really isn't very fun, unless it explodes or something. Experimenting is fun, achievements are fun, unlocking stuff is fun, but waiting and passively watching isn't very fun after the first few times.
 


As for the classic stories, personally I'm bored of that kind of RPG story, but that's a matter of personal taste.

really, you think?
 
it seems to me that the storylines in many games pale in comparison to the classics. but then again, they are the same sort of stories (plot? theme? you're the writer, help me out! <g>), so i can see how they could be construed as "more of the same".
 
any suggestions for other sources of inspiration? i figured that timeless classics would be a good model to study.
 
or should i be starting from scratch? with no preconceived notions of how things should be?


Well, like I said, it is personal taste - for example I've always preferred low fantasy to high fantasy (which is the modern stuff base on the classics). I really am sick of hero's journey type stories. I prefer adventure, comedy, and romance. A sitcom or anime with cavemen might be awesome for me.

No one starts from scratch with stories, I wouldn't recommend that. Instead maybe something with modern people who get marooned and thus have to live at a cavemen level. I mentioned Lord of the Flies and Uninhavited Planet Survive already. Maybe Lost would also be good. There are a dozen good historical or historical romance novels with a prehistoric setting, such as The Clan of the Cave Bear, The Kin, Mother Earth Father Sky, and several I haven't read. There's even a guidebook to prehistoric fiction: http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Stone-Prehistoric-Wesleyan-Classics/dp/0819569003/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364954621&sr=1-2&keywords=paleolithic+romance But, it really depends what kind of story you personally want to tell. It's really hard (and a bad idea) to write a story of a type you don't love. If you truly want to write a story that is a hero's journey type, then that's what you need to look at examples of. Edited by sunandshadow
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Oh oops, missed this post. By flow control did you mean the part about "goal -> (leads to) actions -> condition checks" vs. quests emerging from a political situation? Or something else?

 

the whole "which quest follows which" part. i started implementing, then discovered that a multiple-simultaneous quests could actually be multiple simultaneous stages. at that point, i sort of gave up on the mission flow question for the moment, and decided to work from bottom up with incremental implementation to see what patterns emerged. i've only done 3 or 4 quest action/object combos so far, but it looks like missionflow will be pretty self contained in the individual quest generators, and there may be little or no stringing of quest together possible without seeming contrived. i suspect that large campaigns need a good backstory to avoid seeming contrived. and that means a writer, and hard coded campaigns.

 

Take my opinions with a grain of salt because I don't have the same design goals you do, and it's natural to give advice suited to my design goals than others that conflict a bit with mine.

 

don't worry i keep your unique perspective in mind and actually welcome the fresh perspective you bring. games can be so much more that just shooters. you are the ying to the typical gamer's yang. 

 

with a heavy element of romance, and also about technological innovation and the artistic/spiritual urge to experiment and innovate.

 

romance isn't in yet, but odds are i'll at least take a stab at it before i release. it really would add an new dimsion to the game.

 

as for tech innovation, you start with nothing, no skills, no technologies. you have to learn everything. want to pick and eat berries? need to learn plantlore first so you know whats safe to eat. you also have to learn the skills to make tools, weapons, armor, shelters, etc. as you progress in the game, you get to the point were you can churn out high quality stone knives all day long. then you step up to something like wood spears, and then stone tipped spears, etc. armor making is one of the highest level activities in this respect, along with a few others like making jewelry and musical instruments. we're easily talking many months to a year of game time til you can even think about making those items.

 

but since the game is more or less locked in the paleolithic period, neolithic advancements are not really possible. i have been contemplating adding the option to play earlier homonid species than homo sapiens, such as neandertal, homo habilis, homo erectus, homo ergastor, etc. but these would simply make the game harder by limiting your technology and possible actions.

 

 


Though, personally I'd prefer to have a small number of carefully designed tribes with deep stories rather than lots of shallower ones.

 

yes, i know what you mean.   BTW, did you see that thread about coming up with new races?  serious storytelling there.

 

at this point, unless/until i get into band alliances, tribes, and nation states (which is technically moving into the neolithic), there's just individual bands of up to a dozen or so hunter gatherers. and there can be lots of them. i still have to balance the population density to a realistic number. i don't know if back then you'd run across another person once an hour or once a month. since i just added multiple caves and rock shelters in each map square, there can now be as many as 151 bands in a 5 x 5 mile map square.

but there are no alliances between bands. they are simply friendly or hostile to the player. friendlies and hostiles are enemies when they encounter each other, but the friendlies in a cave will ignore the hostiles in the next cave unless they're so close that their "hangout areas" around their respective caves overlap (caves within 100 feet or so of each other). and they will only go at it if a PC comes by to trigger them.

 

since its just a bunch of small groups, there aren't really factions or sides. from play testing it appears that this is one of those games where the player's actions tell the story. and such stories i could tell! i wish there was a way to automatically chronicle what the player does, complete with snapshots. but the part that's really required is some narration on on the part of the player saying why they are doing something or what they are trying to accomplish.

 

i've also thought about adding a "todo" list or "user generated quests". as the user thinks of things they want to do in the game, they go on the list. in big open worlds, sometimes you come across so much cool stuff to do you have to write it down to remember it all.

 

 

 

and "personal problem fixing" (resolving NPC grudges, old guilts/embarrassments, unrequited crushes, bullying, orphans who need to be placed with parents, misfits who could use help moving to a new tribe, unvalued tribe members who can be taught a skill to make them more appreciated and raise their self esteem, courting one or more spouses for oneself, etc.)

 

this is the kind of simulation i need to get into. in the original version, once you got a travelling companion NPC to join your band that was it. no further relations were tracked between band members. this is one of the two weaknesses in the original game, the other being non-persistent friendly NPC at caves, rock shelters, and huts - hard to establish relations if its a different random NPC every time you visit.

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The big advantage of minigames is that they are a different kind of gameplay than the larger game they are in - usually they are faster-paced, a lot of strategy or puzzle-solving and twitch-reflexes in a short time. They help keep the player from getting bored with the main kind of gameplay by letting them do something different for a while.

 

actually, the gambling is a mini game, sort of roulette. and i actually invented a real rock toss game (we play it in the yard, it's HARD!) to use as a replacement for the roulette. the idea is the player can bet on games and / or play themselves. i've also considered implementing actual late paleolithic / early neolithic games such as sticks and hoops, and chunkey. but that and the court ball of the central and south americas are the only games i have any archaeological evidence for. everything in the game is verified scientifically for appropriateness. the only place where i've take some liberties is wit the armor types, implementing some that could be made, but for which i have yet to find evidence.

 

 

hunter/gathers had much more leisure time than members of agricultural societies do (including us).  so its only natural that much of the time should be spent playing.  now if i could just figure out a way to get your horticulture in there under the anti-neolithic radar...

 

in the original version, you could domesticate any type of animal, with chance of success based on husbandry skills, and size/aggression of the critter (bigger/badder = harder to domesticate).   

 

but then i did research and found that only certain species (pack/herd animals) are conducive to domestication. with the new realistic lineup of paleolithic animals, the dometicatable ones are very few. dire wolf. hippidion (proto horse, if you could catch one). its a maintain distance AI animal, so it runs if you get too close. and being a mini horse the size of a pony, they can run pretty fast. i've never tried to hunt one. not sure if you could even with a bow. maybe if there were a few of you in your party and it was close terrain like woods, you might get close enough to use a net. but hey, just thought of it, you can TRAP one! and then you can domesticate it! looks like horsies are back on the menu boys! not sure how many others are of a domesticable nature though. autorochs (gt bull) and water buffalo possibly. 

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Since your game i set in the dawn on man, you could put the element of being the first to do something. The inventor of some technology, the discoverer of a phenomenon (magic?), the first one to meet a god.

I would like being the first to discover magic, in other games they're always talking about the ancient wizards who were so powerful and unraveled the arcane secrets, or the prophets who were contacted by gods and got something taught to them.

In a paleolithic setting you could have magic based on rock painting, ritual dancing, music and fire.

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I've previously worked on a project (an rpg) where gameplay lasted about 4-5 hours and was sort of a long prequel to a strategy game. When becoming "the king" you'd have to claim back the world from the villain through a turn-based strategy troops management game where you raised more troops and fought on several fronts etc.

A long of genre hybridation tries to do it wrong (all-at-once) whereas I like sequencing ideas.

If you have a look at the Romancing Saga series you'll see there is such an element oscillating between a simple RTS and a classic RPG. It keeps things fresh.

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I have to confess this thread is pretty big. Each post is very detailed and after a while I got hit with the TL:DR syndrome, but I have skimmed through a lot of posts and I haven't seen anyone emphasize on rewarding the player for exploring the world.

 

Things you can do:

 

1.Hidden Story Missions built for Higher Levels

2. Hidden Boss Battles built for Higher Levels

3. Physically changing the world as the player completes tasks/missions in the game to create new missions and reasons to revisit places in the world

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What would be the point of going to Mordor when Sauron pops up again after a week?

 

You're supposed to go to Angband, and take on Melkor.  When you get back, you discover that Melkor's snivelling little henchman, Sauron has setup camp in the wilds of the east in some place called Mordor...

 

yes, you need a never ending stream of bad guys - different bad guys.

 

I think the lack of decay might have something to do with it. Let's say your skills wear off or an enemy retakes positions if you are no longer there to support the friendlies. This would give the players more to do since he/she would have to keep skills fresh and enemies at bay.

 

skills wear off.   only seen that modeled once.    Oblivion when you go to jail for a LONG time.        but its very good. and realistic.     if i hit 100 on blade skill, then start working on my bow skills. if all i do is bow for a couple months then my blade surely would go down to say 95 or 97 or maybe even 90. I should definitely be bested by the champion who spent the last two months keeping their blade at 100.

 

skills wear off. i think that one's going in.   it will dovetail nicely with the weapon training actions.   where's my todo list!?!    <g>

 

hmm, but the rate.   the relation between experience and bonus in caveman is usually the "magic formula":  bonus = sqrt ( exp / exp_for_1st_level ) where exp for 1st level has been defined for the purposes of caveman as 50 experience points (in some skill).  researching a skill boosts your exp in that skill by 50 points if successful.   maybe have a skill go down by 1 exp per day. but that may be too harsh. other than research the only way to get exp is by undertaking actions that use a skill. but successfully completing an action usually only gets you one experience point, at most 2 or maybe 5, there may be one 10 in there somewhere.

 

decay in the security of borders.   as part of the daily "gods changing the map", not only do waterholes and berry bushes come and go, but occupants of caves and rock shelters changes and friendly and hostile huts come and go. so once you've established a base at some shelter, temporary or permanent, and cleared out the nearby hostiles to reduce the chance of hostile raids, and to eliminate their drain on nearby resources, you still need to patrol the area and keep a vigil in case some new bad guys show up. if a new hostile hut pops up, you'll never know it til some band member spots it, or you infer its existence from depleted resources and increased hostile raiding.

so decay of border security is already handled by the modeling of the normal comings and goings in the world. change, spoilage, wear and tear, and weathering are modeled for everything. but not decay of skills (yet).

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