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Drethon

Don't like ending games

12 posts in this topic

I suspect I'm not along in that my favoriate type of game is RPGs but I don't really like completing them.  I like enjoy creating a building a character.  I just kind of hit a brick wall when the character improvement ends.  This is kind of the same both for single player and multiplayer.

 

To create a game that focuses more on my favorite part I've been thinking about a "generations" game.  With this game when your character dies, instead of the game ending it continues with the character's offspring or close reletives.  In this way there isn't just one creation and building of a character but many.  On the other hand it seems all it is really doing is taking the normal begin, build and end phases of an RPG and repeating them.

 

So I'm wondering what others think about this.  Is there a way to focus an RPG more on creation and building as well as extending that part of the game?  Or is this something where existing games have already made the most of what is possible?

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They're not RPG's, but the Total War strategy games do have some RPG-like character-growth elements attached to your generals. You usually had a large handful of these leaders, forming a family tree that would gradually increase with births and 'adoptions' into the family. Eventually, everyone would also grow old and die, which was often a stinging loss, but reduced by the fact that you were playing half a dozen characters at once, in different stages of their growth.
It was always very satisfying to take your 60yr old legendary hero out on one last conquest with a fresh 20yr old in the same party, and having the youngster pick up some great traits and (joint-)victories before your heroic character dies.
So I'd say that this might work better in a party-based RPG, where you can utilize your older generation to help out the younger generation. As all as building the individual characters, you're also building a stronger family over time. Your initial character, lacking the family to help him, will have a slower progression.
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yes it is repeating, to not let a game end you dont need different mechanics(although one can argue this point) but more content and possible also spreading the content out over a longer time.

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Sadly, may RPG's only let you create character(s) once.  It's odd that a large amount of development effort goes into the character creation process and yet it's only ever used once at the start of the game.      

 

I guess you could handle character death like XCOM does.   

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In  Dwarf Fortress you can basically keep on going forever without reaching the ending due to the nature of procedural content. In practice the only viable way of creating broader RPGs is with procedural content, or spending shitloads a lot of money on content-developers.. As for procedural content, existing games have definitely not done the most out of the concept. Terrain heightmaps and vegetation is to some extent generated procedurally during development to ease the burden for world designers, I think Skyrim did this. Other than terrain generation not much has been done on procedural content generation in game development, which is somewhat sad since I am convinced it can be done without making the worlds and its events and content to artificial.

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I always thought an RPG should take a stab at multiple perspectives. Where a player can finish a playthrough then choose from the characters they've come across in the story and play through from beginning to end from the other player's point of view. This makes the allure of multiple endings more fun by making sure the player doesn't have to endure the entire play through from the same perspective with only a few variables changed.

 

Otherwise the only aspect that can keep an RPG interesting after the level grinding is complete is creating arcade elements that require skill. I would imaging this would mostly surround the combat in the game and involve the player exploring old arcade design win conditions in combat vs bots/players.

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Didn't Phantasy star 3 or 4 have generations of characters?    That idea is not new smile.png

 

Edit:  Yes, it was Phantasy Star 3: Generations of Doom 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantasy_Star_III:_Generations_of_Doom

No doubt there, not many ideas are new these days.  More interested in what works well.  I'll have to take a look at Phantasy Star III some time.

 

yes it is repeating, to not let a game end you dont need different mechanics(although one can argue this point) but more content and possible also spreading the content out over a longer time.

Nothing wrong with more content but I do wonder if there is something that can be done with mechanics instead as I tend to be a better coder than storyteller :)

 

I always thought an RPG should take a stab at multiple perspectives. Where a player can finish a playthrough then choose from the characters they've come across in the story and play through from beginning to end from the other player's point of view. This makes the allure of multiple endings more fun by making sure the player doesn't have to endure the entire play through from the same perspective with only a few variables changed.

 

Otherwise the only aspect that can keep an RPG interesting after the level grinding is complete is creating arcade elements that require skill. I would imaging this would mostly surround the combat in the game and involve the player exploring old arcade design win conditions in combat vs bots/players.

Multiple perspectives is an interesting idea.  You do loose the idea of the character being "my" character "I" created but it would provide excellent immersion.

 

I will say that is one thing I liked about Fallout 3 is the RPG element enhanced the character's skills but player skill still accounted for quite a lot.

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If you can make this work within a storyline (where you lose characters and their sons uphold their arms) I'd be more than interested to play/help.

I like the idea of a game that behaves much like how Game of Thrones treats its characters. It clearly shifts the focus from character to family and plot, and that's largely unexplored in single player narrative games. You could be hitting something drastically interesting, not just from the perspective of gameplay, but an innovative storytelling!

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There is also the option to shift gears on your game play and character development. Multiple 'stages' that the player can advance through, rather than just sticking within a single narrow line that makes you feel like nothing has really changed from the start of the game beyond the numbers are higher and special effects are a little prettier.

 

It can also work really well with procedural content generation tie in.

 

You would start at an 'errand boy' game play. You are low level, given assignments by someone else and play on a fairly short leash. Maybe you are a member of a party, but you're the lowest of the low. As you develop more skills and abilities you can get the chance to make more and more decisions, and eventually you split off into the second stage: "Adventurer/party leader"

 

You are calling the small time shots. A few people will follow you, you can offer some influence on other groups (ie, telling the towns people to arm themselves and barricade their families in the castle, or convincing them to stand out and fight along side you.), and you can make your choices in what direction you want to take in "life". (ie, you head off to find the dragon to slay, or stay close to town to deal with local thieves and bandits, etc.)

 

Second stage is about exploring the world, gaining wealth, power, fame, etc. You begin to build contacts, collect assets, and build a history for yourself. Second stage advances into the third stage: Community.

 

Community stage: Eventually your character puts down roots. They get some bit of land or use of a building to call their own. Maybe they'll choose some kind of industry to generate wealth for them, or just a place to call home. The game will begin to cycle the 'story' around this location, presenting challenges and such to the player to deal with, and opening avenues for them to build more wealth and power in their chosen community.

 

Noble Stage: Eventually you begin to gain enough wealth and power that you can begin really calling the shots. Your choices and decisions have wide ranging impacts. You pull back from doing everything yourself, and instead are sending others to do the dirty work you started with.

 

 

Combine these elements with a generational or 're-roll' persistent world play as you have in Dwarf Fortress, and I think you have something that could be really interesting to play. A lot more to the development due to basically combining RPG, Builder Sim, and possibly Empire Strategy game, but I think it can be made far more engaging than many existing linear RPGs.

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You could look at the Family / Clan model.

 

You create your first two characters as a part of two separate Families or Clans, when you get to marriageable age you create your third character (son / daughter / lizard baby etc) and keep on adding party members to the clan / family. It would follow the empire building model Luckless described, but maintain the RPG character building to a greater degree.

 

This could work great with any tribal / clan based society (think Vikings) where your 2nd generation characters inherit certain traits from their progenitors.

 

To keep the game fresh you could also build in something that I would love to see in a game - real wounds, compounding wounds, real death. Every time your character "dies" you select a wound, these start as minor (scars, lost finger, lost toe) with minor buff or debuff and grow in potency as you "die" more often until the only wounds left to choose from are crippling and eventually mortal. For eg. you might get a scar, then a bad scar then eventually frightening scars. Frightening scars would give you a buff in intimidation and possible constitution, but a debuff in charisma and make people either afraid or hateful of you.

 

Further "random" game events can keep the game play going in perpetuity. You would have to define a large number of these and pre-script them, but to occur at random locations and random times to keep it from feeling like you're just grinding or repeating the same old over and over.

 

Incidentally, I find that ending a good rpg game is much like finishing a good book. You just wish it would have gone on longer.

Edited by ironKing
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I've had a similar idea for a (theoretical) MMORPG for a while now. When you reach "maximum level" you can breed and create a new offspring character to play. Doing this gives (at least) 2 advantages:

1) The old character can now level up further, but has perma-death:
This would allow for high-risk/high-reward play such as going after a legendary treasure that can be handed down in the family until it breaks. The dungeon holding the treasure would be far too difficult for normal characters to attempt.
There are other ideas such as having the older characters retire as trainers in your clan village, where the higher level they reach post breeding increases their teaching rate, so you would have to trade off training speed vs risk of dying and wasting that potential.

2) The child character can get new abilities unavailable to the parent:
My game idea is loosely based on the Naruto world, where characters can master individual elements that they have innate talent for. So if your old character could use water and you breed with someone who can use wind there is a small chance that the offspring can get a new talent to combine both water and wind to manipulate ice.
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Crusader Kings 2 is pretty much what you've described. You build up your dynasty through the ages. When your character dies you take over his heir's character, who is now the new head of the family. It's a sandbox game, meaning you set your own goals... there's a dynamic world going on with hundreds of AI controlled characters with their own personalities and ambitions going about their business. You turn up and you can do whatever you like to improve your family's power and reputation: climb the political ladder through diplomacy or violence, become an merchant prince and form a capitalist empire, lead your nation on a holy war, get one of your family member into the papacy... the list goes on.

 

The keywords you are looking for are "open world" and "sandbox". There's a lot of such games out there, but they are not well known. You can also try Dwarf Fortress, Unreal World and Patrician 3. Each of those takes a different approach and can help you find more specific games of the genre you may like.

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