Sign in to follow this  
JLW

Retro turn-based RPG, good indie idea?

Recommended Posts

Recently, while reading through a tabletop RPG ruleset I devised, a friend of mine suggested making a 2D single-player/cooperative turn-based RPG out of it with 32-bit graphics. (Early Fallout titles and ToEE are good single-player only examples of this genre.) I've been thinking about it for a while, and I see no reason why we couldn't do it if we had one or two more people. All we'd need is an artist for the 32-bit sprites and possibly a concept artist to help them out. Since the graphical requirements are so low, this isn't asking much. Steven knows javascript, and if the game engine we end up going with doesn't use it he can learn another programming language. (I can as well, but it's *all* he can do, so I think I'll let him do it.) I'm good with rulesets, I can write, I can worldbuild (I've done a lot of it in other 2D, 32-bit games) and although I admit it's been a couple years (actually, it's been more than half a decade) I used to make music with a digital sound studio, so I can score the game myself. (I'll use 16-bit audio. Fits the retro graphics and it's also easier to do.)

 

I haven't gotten very far into this concept yet, but the ruleset it uses is a tabletop ruleset I've been working on, and I can post that if anybody cares. What I want to know now is how big of a demographic we would have. We want to turn a profit, after all, and even though our expenses more or less amount to a couple programs, energy drinks and pizza, I want to make sure that it will pay out more than the couple hundred we'd be putting into it. Especially since unlike the "Wounded Gaia" pipe dream, this is something that I could actually do at any time without needing many extra resources or any extra training.

Edited by Jeremy Williams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In order to sell, you need something to set your game apart from other turn based strategy games that are out there. Will it be like early Final Fantasy games? I've played fallout 2 and it does set itself apart from others with it's gameplay. With whatever you're doing, you need to add an aspect of it which sets itself apart from other "cookie cutter" turn based RPGs. Maybe something like customization of armor and weapons like Diablo where you can add skills or gems or however that works. Do you have a story written out?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In order to sell, you need something to set your game apart from other turn based strategy games that are out there. Will it be like early Final Fantasy games? I've played fallout 2 and it does set itself apart from others with it's gameplay.

 

There actually aren't many of this type. This RPG is controlled like a turn-based strategy, similar to Fallout and Temple of Elemental Evil, NOT Final Fantasy or Pokemon. You can (and must) move your characters in combat, and the environment does matter. (For instance, the game takes cover into account, standing around naked in inclement weather will inflict cold damage, and you have to make swim when in water.) 

 

With whatever you're doing, you need to add an aspect of it which sets itself apart from other "cookie cutter" turn based RPGs. Maybe something like customization of armor and weapons like Diablo where you can add skills or gems or however that works. 

 

To some extent, I already have this through the modification/enhancement/enchantment system. Crafting is also a major part of the system, and there's an entire class devoted to it. (Artisan.) The game includes a lot of features that look exploitable, allowing players in any class to create apparently overpowered builds. (Like combination that allows Savants to gain something like 600% experience, or the one that can let a warrior hit enemies over a kilometre away, or the one that can allow casters to cast all day without emptying their spell slots.) And, of course, there are two other important features. There aren't many cooperative games in the genre, (up to 8 players here) and there aren't any that I am aware of that allow you to have quite this many characters. (Total 16 player characters, and 32 total characters in the party. Even in single-player.) Customization is also important, as the system has a large number of feats, traits and templates the player can use, in addition to having twenty classes, twenty species, two sexes (no shit) and five ages for a total of 4,000 combinations in basic options alone. Adding on the ability to make sixteen player characters right off the bat, and create a custom home village gives this a great deal of weight. You can even set up party relationships in advance, and set up relationships to your NPCs in the custom village. You can not only decide that, for instance, your warrior is married to your shaman and your ranger is their daughter, you can make it official when making your party and it'll impact in-game dialogue.

 

The last thing is the ruleset itself, which is farther on the "simulation" end of the spectrum than any game I've ever seen and contains a number of features not common in this or any genre. A character's wounds impact their body, not just their health, and limb damage causes impairment. Low health also causes penalties, and when wounded a character bleeds. (Which does, yes, equate to more health damage.) Wounds that are not healed can become infected, and your needs must be maintained. Death in this system can be an extended, bloody affair and if you can't do damage control you're pretty thoroughly screwed. (Translation: Get a healer or bleed to death.)

 

Do you have a story written out?

 

Yes, actually, I do. But it's a bit twisty and I don't want to give out any spoilers. The working title is "Nonnullus delusion." (Might just shorten that to "Delusion.") It's part of the motto of a faction within the game, which crops up a lot throughout gameplay. "Populus nunquam redono suum licentia tamen sub nonnullus delusion." It's there for a reason.

Edited by Jeremy Williams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it definitely sounds like a huge project. I don't think javascript would be best for something like this, but if your buddy thinks he can do it then more power to him! All the customization sounds like it could be really fun, and having to watch each aspect of your character is definitely something out of the ordinary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it definitely sounds like a huge project. I don't think javascript would be best for something like this, but if your buddy thinks he can do it then more power to him! All the customization sounds like it could be really fun, and having to watch each aspect of your character is definitely something out of the ordinary

 

He can learn another language if he needs to. As for the "huge" part of that, a lot of corners are being cut. Class will not impact your appearance, age will not impact it (unless you're really young, then it's just a matter of scale) and clothes are just pasted over your basic sprite.  Lastly, most of the effects here are fairly basic, and you will get notifications when effects are applied. (Not only this, but mousing over them shows a list of status effect symbols on their health display.) And since your characters take care of most of their own needs as long as they have the provisions, just keep them stocked and let them rest when they need it.

Edited by Jeremy Williams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Class should be visible somehow, even if only by a sign near the character, for example a shield depicted on the left top of a character that is a knight, an axe for an axeman.

You asked how big of a demographic you would have, and it depends;

you 've not realy explained what the game is about except that it is based off a tabletop RPG ruleset, and i think that is your main demographic, namely table-top players.

I think you should check out in that community a bit to see whether people would enjoy it, whether there s competition.

If you still want to know about demographic outside table-top players, i suggest you rewrite your introduction and pretend that your listeners have never even heard about table-top games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


What I want to know now is how big of a demographic we would have.

 

ah yes, the 64 billion dollar question.

 

that's really what it all boils down to.

 

The depth and scope described are impressive. 2d turn based means you won't have to spend all your dev time on graphics, allowing you to concentrate on the simulation behind the paint job ( I personally am of the school of thought that "PICTURES are for looking at, GAMES are for PLAYING!").

 

javascript probably won't be a problem.

 

best of all, you already have the "rules of the game", and just need to implement them in code.

 

so in those respects you seem fine.

 

 so its all about how many copies you can sell.

 

the title sounds niche to me. not mass market like angry birds or something. much more hard core. basic demogaphic: turn based 2d rpg fans, especially the hard core ones who want more of everything (like 16 PCs under your control and a max party size of 32, 20 classes, etc).

 

i'd start by checking out the competition (if any). those are the titles you'll be competing against for the user's dollars. you'll have to clearly outdo them all. at the same time, try to get a feel for the popularity of the genre based on things like web presences and download counts of similar titles, and number of hits on relevant Google searches, etc.

 

you will discover one of two things:

 

1. the market isn't big enough to make it worth your while

2. you could own the market, such as it is, if you build and keep updated a superior product. this may not make you rich, but it might be worth your while. based on the tight focus on hard core turn based 2d rpg, i don't think this will do well enough to allow you to quit your day jobs. 3d has more mass appeal. realtime has more mass appeal. non-hardcore has more mass appeal (unfortunately).

 

off the top of my head, i'd say you have perhaps as much as a 50% chance of this being something you could make some money at long term. which is much better odds than most titles people consider.

 

the next step is market research. look at everything out there. get a feel for the current state of the market for this game type. is anybody into these games anymore? whats the competition like? can you outdo them in all respects? or at least outdo them in most respects, and match them in the rest? If there's signs of interest in the game type, and the competition is not too stiff, you may have a winner!

 

i wouldn't worry about chrome like different graphics for the PCs depending on their age. there will be time for that once you've built the basic game, released it, proven it sells, and is worth the extra time on graphics. See, right there, you already have the beginnings of a feature list for version 2.0, and thus another "franchise" is born. if the game sells, by version 3 or 4 your game should be synonymous with hard core 2d turn based rpg play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Class should be visible somehow, even if only by a sign near the character, for example a shield depicted on the left top of a character that is a knight, an axe for an axeman.

 

Most classes are really flexible, and none are as restrictive as an "axeman." I'd need a more complex symbol than that, but I symbol I can do. For instance, the "warrior" class is largely based on the Mandalorians of Star Wars (the only thing in that festering dung heap of a franchise I feel is worth my attention) so a tusked skull could be their symbol.

 

 

You asked how big of a demographic you would have, and it depends;

you 've not realy explained what the game is about except that it is based off a tabletop RPG ruleset, and i think that is your main demographic, namely table-top players.

 

Possibly, yes. And it's worth noting that it's not just "a" tabletop RPG ruleset, it's MY tabletop RPG ruleset. Which I made personally, by myself, with no help on the system itself and only very little help on the content. I feel that's important.

 

 

 

I think you should check out in that community a bit to see whether people would enjoy it, whether there s competition.

 

Way ahead of you: http://rpgforumsonline.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=41739

 

 

 

If you still want to know about demographic outside table-top players, i suggest you rewrite your introduction and pretend that your listeners have never even heard about table-top games.

 

What about other fans of this small, vanishing genre? There are other games like this and some were quite popular. Fallout, for instance.

Edited by Jeremy Williams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site really isn't working any more, is it? I thought it was supposed to have a pop-up when somebody replies while you are typing.

ah yes, the 64 billion dollar question.

that's really what it all boils down to.

The depth and scope described are impressive. 2d turn based means you won't have to spend all your dev time on graphics, allowing you to concentrate on the simulation behind the paint job ( I personally am of the school of thought that "PICTURES are for looking at, GAMES are for PLAYING!").

javascript probably won't be a problem.

best of all, you already have the "rules of the game", and just need to implement them in code.


Well, I haven't gotten into audio, really. And in that matter I feel detail is important. I intend to put a LOT of effort into the soundtrack, and use the music to help tell the story. And yes, that is possible, even in games and even with 16-bit sounds. Go play Final Fantasy VI, the music in that game is 16-bit and not only sounds incredible it does a better job telling the story than the dialogue does. (Think "Peter and the Wolf" with visual aids.)

so its all about how many copies you can sell.


Exacta!

the title sounds niche to me. not mass market like angry birds or something. much more hard core. basic demogaphic: turn based 2d rpg fans, especially the hard core ones who want more of everything (like 16 PCs under your control and a max party size of 32, 20 classes, etc).


And tabletop fans, as it is based off a tabletop game. And even if it's priced at $5 and we lose half to royalties we'll only need to sell a couple hundred to cover expenses. Any more than that is profit. This game has a lot going for it in the hard core community, and the world is visually distinctive enough to catch eyes.

i'd start by checking out the competition (if any). those are the titles you'll be competing against for the user's dollars. you'll have to clearly outdo them all. at the same time, try to get a feel for the popularity of the genre based on things like web presences and download counts of similar titles, and number of hits on relevant Google searches, etc.

you will discover one of two things:

1. the market isn't big enough to make it worth your while
2. you could own the market, such as it is, if you build and keep updated a superior product. this may not make you rich, but it might be worth your while. based on the tight focus on hard core turn based 2d rpg, i don't think this will do well enough to allow you to quit your day jobs. 3d has more mass appeal. realtime has more mass appeal. non-hardcore has more mass appeal (unfortunately).

off the top of my head, i'd say you have perhaps as much as a 50% chance of this being something you could make some money at long term. which is much better odds than most titles people consider.

the next step is market research. look at everything out there. get a feel for the current state of the market for this game type. is anybody into these games anymore? whats the competition like? can you outdo them in all respects? or at least outdo them in most respects, and match them in the rest? If there's signs of interest in the game type, and the competition is not too stiff, you may have a winner!

i wouldn't worry about chrome like different graphics for the PCs depending on their age. there will be time for that once you've built the basic game, released it, proven it sells, and is worth the extra time on graphics. See, right there, you already have the beginnings of a feature list for version 2.0, and thus another "franchise" is born. if the game sells, by version 3 or 4 your game should be synonymous with hard core 2d turn based rpg play.


To be honest, we don't need to make a living off this game. We just need to make a profit. I'm not really doing this for money and I'd run it at a loss if I had the means to do so, but I can't afford it. As long as it goes for more than we put in, even by a dollar, that means it's not impairing my standard of living and that's enough for me to make another. Of course, I would like to make money (and since Steven is much more materialistic than I am, he won't stay on if we don't) so I'm planning it to make money. As a result, we needed a couple gimmicks. These include giving it a modding kit so people can make their own campaigns. (Tabletop ruleset means tabletop players. Co-op means people to play with. See the direction this is heading?) Add on small, cheap, frequent DLC. It's a win/win for me. DLC isn't free, so I get money. It also stirs a modding community like nothing else, and as a modder I do enjoy modding communities and the work they put out. Edited by Jeremy Williams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


What about other fans of this small, vanishing genre? There are other games like this and some were quite popular. Fallout, for instance.

 

i doubt those other fans would (only) buy your game "because it is a table-top game made into a computergame"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i doubt those other fans would (only) buy your game "because it is a table-top game made into a computergame"

Not tabletops. 2d, turn-based RPGs. Like Fallout, the example I used, which was NEVER a tabletop game. (Seriously, how could you get that screwed up?)

If there was a dying genre I liked, and I saw a game in that genre that looked good once inspected, damn right I'd buy it for that alone. If you want to play a specific kind of game nobody makes anymore, then you'll play any you find that are any good at all. And what makes you think that's the only reason? There's plenty of new features here, and the soundtrack can't hurt.

This is a genre that pretty much doesn't exist anymore, but used to be much bigger. There should be plenty of fans of the genre who can't find any others. All I don't know is how many there are, how many of them can find my game and how many other people would buy it. (I'm also not sure about pricing, but that's beside the point.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

$10 says all these down-votes are from the same squeaky wheel. (Why does this feature exist? This shallow nonsense is all it will EVER be used for.) If you're reading this: You aren't hurting me, and I know who is doing all the voting here. Quit shaming yourself.

Edited by Jeremy Williams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Taking advice, I devised symbols for each class. Following are the twenty classes and their symbols. The sex of the people in each symbol is the sex of the individual bearing the symbol. The people are nude, but as this is a silhouette nothing is shown. These are all metaphors. Go ahead and try to interpret them yourself. Some should be easy, others should be difficult. It might be interesting to try and interpret it, but I must warn you that some of this imagery is DARK.

Soldier: A dead child being eaten by a dog, lying inside a black, heart-shaped box held by an iron hand.

Warrior: A child bearing a sword, facing a threshold with a large horned shadow coming through it.

Martial artist: A child, hand up, with a velvet-gloved, iron hand guiding their wrist.

Guardian Sentinel: A child clutching a heart-shaped box to their chest. Several adults are visible through the box's lid.

 

EDIT: I retconned this to avoid confusion between the guardian class and guardian deities.

Lawman/Lawwoman: A dead child being beaten with an iron fist.

Scout: A child, in a tree, with a looking glass.

Bard: A child with a lute, writing with a quill upon parchment.

Ranger: A child, arm outstretched and a bird landing upon it.

Rogue: A child hiding behind a counter holding a knife and a loaf of bread, before a threshold with a large horned shadow standing in it.

Mystic: A blind child holding a hand of cards: The World, The Fool, The Tower, The Lovers and The Devil.

Savant: A child sitting on a chair, reading a book by candlelight.

Artisan: A child sitting at a desk, sketching.

Noble: A child wearing a black coat, with a red right hand clutching green paper to their abdomen, fingers in their coat.

Worker: A child, holding a pickaxe, being struck with a whip.

Shaman: A child sitting against a tree watching a dog, while the dog watches an owl and the owl watches the child.

Priest/Priestess: A pile of burning books and an iron fist beating a dead child with a rod.

Physician: A headless child kneeling next to a beheaded adult, trying to put the adult's head back on.

Wizard/Witch: A child wearing goggles, holding a vial and a quill.

Sorcerer/Sorceress: A child, arms outstretched like wings, flying through the sky.

Mage: A child with a looking glass, sitting on the crescent moon.

If nobody can figure this out in three days, I'll explain the lot of them. Don't be afraid to spitball.

Edited by Jeremy Williams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


$10 says all these down-votes are from the same squeaky wheel. (Why does this feature exist? This shallow nonsense is all it will EVER be used for.) If you're reading this: You aren't hurting me, and I know who is doing all the voting here. Quit shaming yourself.

Based on the fact that you thought your down-votes came from a single source, no, you probably don't know who is doing "all the voting"; you only have 4 down-votes in this topic, all from separate users, none of whom appear to have any unusual pattern of regularly voting you down and two of whom have never previously voted you down at all.  Please don't drag your own discussion off-topic with petty complaints -- if you don't like the reputation system then just ignore it, but we've actually found it to be very effective both in discouraging some of the more anti-social behaviours that used to be more regular here and in highlighting some of the best quality content.  It's also helped to improve signal-noise ratio but decreasing the amount of "I agree" posts without additional content, but still allows people to show they agree.

 

If you have suggestions for improving the system or just want to vent your thoughts/frustrations we're happy to hear them in the correct place (the CS&I forum), but here you're just dragging your own topic off course.  If you think the system is being abused we're also happy to investigate any reports you make -- although I'll note again that this does not appear to be the case in this instance.  Please keep any further replies to this topic on-point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 


$10 says all these down-votes are from the same squeaky wheel. (Why does this feature exist? This shallow nonsense is all it will EVER be used for.) If you're reading this: You aren't hurting me, and I know who is doing all the voting here. Quit shaming yourself.

Based on the fact that you thought your down-votes came from a single source, no, you probably don't know who is doing "all the voting"; you only have 4 down-votes in this topic, all from separate users, none of whom appear to have any unusual pattern of regularly voting you down and two of whom have never previously voted you down at all.  Please don't drag your own discussion off-topic with petty complaints -- if you don't like the reputation system then just ignore it, but we've actually found it to be very effective both in discouraging some of the more anti-social behaviours that used to be more regular here and in highlighting some of the best quality content.  It's also helped to improve signal-noise ratio but decreasing the amount of "I agree" posts without additional content, but still allows people to show they agree.

 

If you have suggestions for improving the system or just want to vent your thoughts/frustrations we're happy to hear them in the correct place (the CS&I forum), but here you're just dragging your own topic off course.  If you think the system is being abused we're also happy to investigate any reports you make -- although I'll note again that this does not appear to be the case in this instance.  Please keep any further replies to this topic on-point.

 

I had already gone back to the topic at hand, but thank you for your unsolicited advice. I'm going to go back to adding information to the topic now, thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it definitely sounds like a huge project. I don't think javascript would be best for something like this, but if your buddy thinks he can do it then more power to him! All the customization sounds like it could be really fun, and having to watch each aspect of your character is definitely something out of the ordinary

There mere fact it's turn-based already makes performance a non-issue. As long as the code is kept tidy using javascript shouldn't be an issue, really, especially if the programmer is accustomed with it.

 

A bigger issue would be getting all the assets done (not just graphics and sound, but also the layouts as well as the script and such). RPGs are not easy to make for this very reason. It's going to be rather time consuming.

 

May want to consider having some way for players to provide their own stuff (e.g. custom maps for battles), at least that'll help grabbing their attention for some more time :P (if you do this you may want to consider making the editor you used available to them)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Well it definitely sounds like a huge project. I don't think javascript would be best for something like this, but if your buddy thinks he can do it then more power to him! All the customization sounds like it could be really fun, and having to watch each aspect of your character is definitely something out of the ordinary

There mere fact it's turn-based already makes performance a non-issue. As long as the code is kept tidy using javascript shouldn't be an issue, really, especially if the programmer is accustomed with it.

 

I wouldn't call it a "non-issue." It's still grating to watch an animation lag, skip or slow down in a turn-based game. Still, not a big issue and it shouldn't come up offline. (You can't avoid it online, there are a lot of truly awful connections out there, although we can reduce it somewhat.)

 

 

 

A bigger issue would be getting all the assets done (not just graphics and sound, but also the layouts as well as the script and such). RPGs are not easy to make for this very reason. It's going to be rather time consuming.

 

Yes, I know. Thankfully, a lot of the art is simple and many enemy, armour and weapon types are palette swaps of one another. For instance, a suit of bronze heavy armour and a suit of steel heavy armour can use the same sprite with the colour changed. The effort that took? Open the image editor, go through a menu, move a slider. Voilà. There will (unfortunately) have to be a lot of that.

 

 

 

May want to consider having some way for players to provide their own stuff (e.g. custom maps for battles), at least that'll help grabbing their attention for some more time tongue.png (if you do this you may want to consider making the editor you used available to them)

 

Yes, there's supposed to be a modding kit, complete with a map maker. (You know, I could have sworn I already mentioned that.) To be totally honest, I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do with it more than I am the income the game will bring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


This is a genre that pretty much doesn't exist anymore, but used to be much bigger.

 

an important question:

 

why?  

 

what happened? 

 

game types that lose popularity usually do so because either:

1. the game type evolves into another more popular game type (2d platform shooters evolved into FPS games)

2. the demographic changed. flight sims are less popular than at first, because at first, only hard core geeks owned PCs, so all titles were designed by and for hard code gaming geeks (like me).  then PCs became more common, enter the "casual gamer", "mass market AAA titles", consoles, Nintendo jump and shoots, Angry Birds, and all that stuff. the market grew, but also changed as to the demographics makeup, and what types of games would sell the most. its the same old story of broadening appeal means reducing to the lowest common denominator (usually sex and violence). "mass market crap for the mindless masses" as they say.

 

if it turns out that something like "Skyrim" vs "Fallout" is considered "the way" to do an RPG these days, then you may have a problem.

 

and now a word of advise from a table top gamer:

 

i started on classic D&D ruleset in 1977, 4 years before the invention of the PC. I ran a campaign on and off for about 5-6 years. the first game i ever wrote for the PC was a text based RPG written in 1982 on a Sperry Rand PC (8088 chip) with dual 360K floppy drives,and an EGA card (a nice PC for the time). the OS was MS-DOS 2.01 or 2.11. 

 

if i'm turning to the PC for a good RPG experience, things like 3d, and real time are definite pluses. all other things being equal, i'd choose 3d and realtime every time.

 

only if i was looking to control a large party rather than concentrate on the members of a small one would i consider 2d turn based, as there would be command and control issues for a large party in realtime.

 

you may find the the minimum standard for the game type you want to make has been raised. it may have been 2d turn based and evolved into 3d realtime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 


This is a genre that pretty much doesn't exist anymore, but used to be much bigger.

 

an important question:

 

why?  

 

what happened? 

 

game types that lose popularity usually do so because either:

1. the game type evolves into another more popular game type (2d platform shooters evolved into FPS games)

2. the demographic changed. flight sims are less popular than at first, because at first, only hard core geeks owned PCs, so all titles were designed by and for hard code gaming geeks (like me).  then PCs became more common, enter the "casual gamer", "mass market AAA titles", consoles, Nintendo jump and shoots, Angry Birds, and all that stuff. the market grew, but also changed as to the demographics makeup, and what types of games would sell the most. its the same old story of broadening appeal means reducing to the lowest common denominator (usually sex and violence). "mass market crap for the mindless masses" as they say.

 

if it turns out that something like "Skyrim" vs "Fallout" is considered "the way" to do an RPG these days, then you may have a problem.

This genre was killed by our industry's decay. Most gamers are "casual" gamers who only want mindless killing frenzies like Call of Duty, and even with RPGs, "casual" gamers want simplistic rulesets they don't have to think about and are more concerned with aesthetics than gameplay. The industry as a whole is mostly concerned with pumping out smut that serves no purpose but to pump out as much violence for as little thought as possible, and even the makers of RPGs (which, you must remember, are a very small minority) are giving in to it by building games more and more for consoles while giving PC less and less support, and making their games simpler with each iteration at the expense of customization. Hence watered-down RPGs like Skyrim, which reek of consolitis, dominating the market. Even visually, this decay is evident. Games get higher and higher resolution, but they always end up looking worse as a result as next-gen graphics are dark, lack in colour and are completely bereft of any of the visual distinctiveness that the previous generations used to have. The music in games is getting less and less distinctive and memorable, and we end up with things like the soundtrack of Final Fantasy XII, where not a single song in the entire game could be recalled even one minute after they stopped playing. Everything in games is getting mushed together and everything that could make a game unique is being cut out, even though the few unique games that come out usually do fairly well, as game companies are being run by executives that don't know what a game is or how it is supposed to work, and are making idiot decisions based on market trends rather than any actual understanding of their consumers.

 

No marketing executive is going to recommend making a game in 2d, because 3d sells better. No marketing executive is going to recommend turn-based games, because real time sells better. No marketing executive is going to recommend quality, spirit, soul or originality, because cheap, uninspired, soulless knockoffs sell better. Our industry has too many marketing executives, and those marketing executives have too much power. And I realise I could put all that in a memo and entitle it "Shit, we already know."

 

I hate the way the market is going. I will have nothing to do with it. I want to make GOOD games for REAL gamers. Hardcore games that are unique, interesting and in now way cater to the brainless morons we call "the casual demographic." I have no interest in making a watered down RPG like Skyrim, I especially do not intend to make a mindless, repetitive twitch-fest like Call of Duty, and I don't give a flying fuck WHAT the market says. Even if I had the resources for a 3d, realtime, shooter-style RPG, I'd take the time to make sure it was unique and I would base all decisions on the game's quality, not profitability. That is who I am, and damned if I will ever let anything change that.

 

 

and now a word of advise from a table top gamer:

 

i started on classic D&D ruleset in 1977, 4 years before the invention of the PC. I ran a campaign on and off for about 5-6 years. the first game i ever wrote for the PC was a text based RPG written in 1982 on a Sperry Rand PC (8088 chip) with dual 360K floppy drives,and an EGA card (a nice PC for the time). the OS was MS-DOS 2.01 or 2.11. 

 

if i'm turning to the PC for a good RPG experience, things like 3d, and real time are definite pluses. all other things being equal, i'd choose 3d and realtime every time.

 

I simply do not have the resources for a 3d, real time game. I'm making the best of what I've got as it is. I know what I would do with sufficient resources, and it's entirely different. (Still nothing like that mass-market AAA horseshit.) Here, have a link, I've already gone into it.

 

http://www.gamedev.net/topic/643191-near-future-game-concept-working-title-wounded-gaia-feedback-welcome/?p=5071168

 

 

only if i was looking to control a large party rather than concentrate on the members of a small one would i consider 2d turn based, as there would be command and control issues for a large party in realtime.

 

you may find the the minimum standard for the game type you want to make has been raised. it may have been 2d turn based and evolved into 3d realtime.

 

This game *does* allow for a large party. The party can go all the way up to 32, even if only 16 are controlled by the player directly. That is WAY too many for real-time, but still a manageable number for turn-based gameplay. And I will reiterate my main point one more time: I am out to make a good game before anything else, profit isn't even my secondary concern. As long as the game makes more money than we spent on it, it's enough to make another. I would *like* to make more money, but I am putting the game first. I just want to make games, and I want to make them my way. Money is the means, NOT the end.

 

EDIT:

If I seem angry, that's because I am.

Edited by Jeremy Williams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can sympathize with the sentiment, but you have to ask yourself why the industry is in decay. Part of the reason D&D and other tabletops have declined in popularity is because other things have come along -- back in the day, if you wanted to play a fantasy-based role-playing game with deep plots, tabletops were your only real option. Today, MMOs like WoW provide those same themes, role-play, similar social interaction, and the accessibility of playing whenever you choose without having to herd 4+ friends together at the same place and time. Modern interactive games also provide more immediate gratification. As a video gamer who recently gave D&D a good shot, one of the things that struck me was the glacial pace with which the game moves -- with 5 other players, a single turn takes an hour, 50 minutes of which I'm essentially idle and disengaged. In an MMO or any other game I'm always actively doing something. All of this is to say nothing of all the other competing styles and genres of games available today, and other kinds of entertainment that have never been more accessible and immediately available.

 

I'm a veteren of D&D and GURPS. I have NEVER seen a turn take more than ten minutes, even with a dozen people playing. Not a single time. More importantly, there are advantages to actual tabletops that video games can never provide, such as the ability to do anything at any time, even if the creator of the game didn't think about it or write rules for it.

 

EDIT:

Excluding the turns we decided to take breaks during. Normally, we wait until after combat, but sometimes breaks have to happen suddenly. And even then, you'd have to be counting the break into the duration of the turn, and I personally don't.

 

Further, WoW is considerably less engaging. As the party tank, you can just push the autoattack button and walk away, and it won't hurt your effectiveness any. The other classes don't take much extra. The game requires barely any input, and it bores the shit out of me. Add on how insanely repetitive it is, the lack of customization and the lack of incomparable removing all options from advancement and it's the sorriest excuse for an RPG I have EVER seen. It makes Skyrim look deep.

 

 

 

I think the more classic experience does still appeal to some people -- the industry may be a smaller part of the overall entertainment pie today, but I'd hazard a guess that its probably as large or larger than its ever been in total numbers today. Large publishers, indeed large companies of any kind, tend to ignore the small slivers, which makes them a sort of "cottage industry" as far as the wider gaming industry is concerned, even though the sliver may be entirely viable in its own right.

 

 

 

 

 

What I'm getting at is that you may very well be onto something, but its naive to think that everything is horseshit just because its mainstream -- horseshit doesn't sell like mainstream products do, they may not appeal to you, you may be desperate for something different, but that's clearly not what the mainstream audience wants. Is that lamentable? Probably, on some level. Anyhow, if the impetus behind your business plan is that the mainstream is crap, and there's a conspiracy (or unwillingness) by the mainstream publishers to keep table-top-style games from returning to the mainstream, I think you'll be disappointed with that thesis.

 

THAT IS NOT WHAT I SAID AT ALL.  I do NOT hate all AAA games for being mainstream. I hate most AAA games for a short list of specific reasons. I hate AAA shooters because there's a whopping three styles: CoD, Halo and GoW, the most popular of these is a completely mindless twitch-fest that requires nothing beyond hands and a dozen or so functioning braincells. The rest would be fine if they weren't being ripped off on a daily basis. (Seriously, people, stop cloning Halo. If people want to play Halo, they'll play Halo, not your clone of it.) I don't really hate AAA RPGs yet, but I am strongly disappointed in the direction they are taking. They are being watered down over and over again, becoming more and more casual with less and less choice and freedom. Give them five years, they'll all look like Fable III and Final Fantasy XIII: straight-ass fucking hallways with no challenge, no choice and no fun. I don't give a shit about racers or social games, so I'll skip them. I haven't played a fighting game since Soul Calibur V, and I haven't played an RTS since Command & Conquer 3, but that's not really out of dislike. The only games I really care about now are RPGs and shooters, and I have very specific reasons why I think the AAA industry is doing a shit job making those.

 

 

 

Personally, though I don't much like tabletop games, I think there's actually a market to be had in creating an online platform for these kinds of games -- that is, one which allows people across large distances to play together without being too difficult to use and to author content and rulesets for. That's of course different than what you seem to describe.

 

HOW is that different, exactly? Because that appears to be EXACTLY WHAT I JUST DESCRIBED. It's a 2d representation of a tabletop game, with multiplayer. It comes with a modding kit, which allows for custom content and rule adjustments.

 

 

 

But regarding whether you need AAA graphics, real-time 3D, or other chrome, I say no. What you need is art that looks professional for what it is, and which has style. People know production value when they see it, regardless of what form it takes. Its that property of the visuals (and audio) that says to people "this game is worth my time" -- shoddy production values say "not even the author thinks this game is worth his time". Plenty of successful games have "simple" graphics, be they in 2D or 3D, and nearly all of those have obviously high production value. Ultimately it comes down to time and resources, and simpler graphics with higher production value are more appealing than complex graphics with low production value.

 

Extra credits did an episode on that once, I believe it was called "Graphics vs. Aesthetics." Also, you don't know what "production value" means. "Production value" means "the amount of money put into production." It has nothing to do with quality. At all. What you are thinking of is "aesthetics."

Edited by Jeremy Williams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jesus, you sure don't know how to have a productive conversation do you? You seem to be more concerned about arguing how right you are about everything, even when you're not -- If production value meant production cost, they would have called it that. You can have high production value on a shoestring budget, or poor production value on a blockbuster budget. There's a sliding relationship, sure -- you might accept a certain standard of work having paid $100 for it, but not accept the same standard having paid $1000 for it -- but monetary input does not have a causal relationship to quality output. Production value is the same as any other value, it means to get the best standard of work you can get, given whatever budget you have.

 

Anyhow, I'll take my leave of this conversation. No point having a discussion with someone so convinced of their own infallible superiority. Good luck transferring that attitude into the leadership skills that'll be required to make your idea a reality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jesus, you sure don't know how to have a productive conversation do you? You seem to be more concerned about arguing how right you are about everything, even when you're not -- If production value meant production cost, they would have called it that. You can have high production value on a shoestring budget, or poor production value on a blockbuster budget. There's a sliding relationship, sure -- you might accept a certain standard of work having paid $100 for it, but not accept the same standard having paid $1000 for it -- but monetary input does not have a causal relationship to quality output. Production value is the same as any other value, it means to get the best standard of work you can get, given whatever budget you have.

 

Anyhow, I'll take my leave of this conversation. No point having a discussion with someone so convinced of their own infallible superiority. Good luck transferring that attitude into the leadership skills that'll be required to make your idea a reality.

Funny how you completely ignore all the times you are blatantly wrong and can't jump to semantics. Like your claim that a single turn of D&D takes an hour, which is complete bullshit and everybody knows it. Or you describing EXACTLY what I'm doing here and saying it's "different from what [I] seem to describe." Or your explanation for my distaste for AAA games being in direct contradiction to my own statements on the matter beforehand. Basically, everything in the entire post.

 

You shouldn't be trying to correct other people, you should be drooling at the TV and waiting for the next Friedburg and Seltzer movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's ease off the hostility

 


Funny how you completely ignore all the times you are blatantly wrong and can't jump to semantics. Like your claim that a single turn of D&D takes an hour, which is complete bullshit and everybody knows it. Or you describing EXACTLY what I'm doing here and saying it's "different from what [I] seem to describe." Or your explanation for my distaste for AAA games being in direct contradiction to my own statements on the matter beforehand. Basically, everything in the entire post.



You shouldn't be trying to correct other people, you should be drooling at the TV and waiting for the next Friedburg and Seltzer movie.

 

D&D turns can take an hour. When players are slow doing math, or have several things they need to do per turn, it can very well take an hour. I've witnessed it. Usually, though, with those situations it is about 15 minutes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this