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RPG Mechanics

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Hello. While researching this topic, I came across the following image:

 

rpg_mechanics_chart.gif

 

Does that sum up RPG mechanics I should add to my game? My goal is to create a very standard, single-player turn-based RPG. But even though I've played many, I don't really know where to start. Well, I have started, but I'm not sure how much I need to add to finish it. In any case, I'll get straight to the game design portion. Any feedback would be appreciated!

 

Story

 

Although I'm not a huge fan of fetch-quests, this is what the story currently entails. There is an annual, worldwide competition between the seven countries of the world (each based on a particular element). 35 coins are hidden throughout the seven nations, and the player's goal is to form a party and collect the most coins within 90 days. The purpose of the competition is to demonstrate the strategic abilities of each nation through a sort of Olympic-type game. The party can have between 3 and 5 members (including the player), and the NPCs can be from any of the aforementioned seven nations. One interval of time passes after so many actions (morning events, noon events, night events). The player can choose a combat, stealth, or diplomatic playing style.

 

*This story is subject to change.

 

Experience Points

 

No level system; however, the player can gain experience in various areas. For example, if the player wants to use a bow instead of a sword, then the bow's experience can be increased with use. If the sword is not in regular use, sword experience will lower.

 

Classes

 

Classes determine beginning stats and cap the experience gained in certain other areas. So if a mage wants to use a sword (or a fighter wants to use magic), he or she can. The only thing is, the experience will have a lower cap. Here's what it might look like:

  1. Mage Sword Experience >>> 30/60
  2. Mage Magic Experience >>> 50/120
  3. Fighter Sword Experience >>> 30/120
  4. Fighter Magic Experience >>> 50/60

Classes include the Mage (high magic cap), Fighter (high sword cap), Rogue (high agility cap), Ranger (high bow cap), etc.

 

Each character class will have more than one exp cap associated with it. One is the type of weapon they can gain the most experience with. That way, any class can use any skill effectively (but not as effectively as a class with that specialty).

 

Acting

 

I want to try something different in this game. The coins I mentioned earlier can be obtained in many different ways: quests, challenging another party for their coins in a battle, finding them in various locations, and more. But I'd really like to incorporate strategy into the acquisition of the coins. What I mean is, what if I used gambits as means of role-playing (in addition to the standard dialogue trees)? That could be interesting.

 

A gambit here would have a particular alignment, or combination of them: stealth (secretly taking the coin from an area or character), combat (using turn-based combat to challenge another team), or diplomacy (talking to/persuading other characters with a dialogue tree). Should each character have an experience cap for these as well?

 

Exploration

 

I think the story calls for this. More specifically, below are the nations the player can explore, in no particular order. It will be an open-world game, but not exactly a pure sandbox.

 

1) Pyro Nation - Known for the fire element

2) Terra Nation - Known for the earth element

3) Aqua Nation - Known for the water element

4) Gale Nation - Known for the wind element

5) Current Nation - Known for the lightning element

6) Ore Nation - Known for the metal element

7) Frigid Nation - Known for the ice element

 

Turn-Based Battles

 

The battles system in this game is divided into two turns: offensive and defensive. I wanted to incorporate strategy into the turn-based battles, and after researching the fencing sport, I thought about using this system. Dragonball Z Legendary Super Warriors, a TCG on the GBC, uses a similar battle system.

 

o Offensive Turn >>>

o Attack   - Use a targeted attack to land a hit on the opponent

o Feint - Use a mock attack to distract the opponent from guarding another area

o Lunge - Forcefully attack by propelling one's entire body forward (lowers guard)

 

o Defensive Turn >>>

o Defend - Block a targeted attack to prevent a hit from the opponent

o Parry - Deflect an attack away from oneself to lower the opponent's guard

o Counter- Use an evasive maneuver to land a hit on the opponent (lowers guard)

 

The battle would end when an opponent's HP reaches 20%. There's no death/fainting/respawning. After losing a battle, the player might lose a coin or item, but these can be obtained again.

 

Items

 

I did a bit of research and compiled a short list of possible weapons that can be purchased/crafted. I still need to add equipment (such as gloves or armor) and items (ex. potions) to my list. If you have suggestions for these, I'd be happy to see them.

 

Kris

Wooden Sword

Iron Sword

Rapier

Saber

Long Sword

Hook Sword

Katana

Broad Sword

Claymore

Tonfa

Maul

Javelin (Light Spear)

Spear

Lance (Heavy Spear)

Halberd

Glaive

Bow

Long Bow

Light Crossbow

 

Crafting

 

This is a feature that I want to include, but I'm not really sure how I should do it. I might eventually add this to the game.

 

What do you think? Thanks for reading this post.

 

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You're jumping to the specifics much too quickly.

Before delving in the sort of weapons the player can purchase, you should know more about your setting (and more than just "each nation corresponds to an element" a ton of games do that, but they do it differently).

Before any of this, you should know how the game should look and feel, and what brands it apart from other games. Why it should be fun.

 

I like to start every major project by listing "tenets", or simple one-liners of what we'll do and what we won't do such as this:

 

- The world is split in 7 elements:

Each area hint subtly at its core element (through colored tones, etc.)

Each area has a few very specific landmarks that make the tie to the element much less subtle (lava cave in the fire domain, etc.)

 

I also like to think that RPGs, in general, are better designed top-down: define the feeling you seek to attain, and then determine what features lead you to it (which may very well be counter-intuitive to most designers).

 

How you split experience for classes seems like it could fall out of hands from a balancing standpoint very quickly.

I'm assuming this would be a multiplayer environment (based on your above graph) given as how WoW can only truly be a relevant reference if you intend for this to be multiplayer. Even as a single player experience however, balance could be an issue as it would effectively diminish the value of certain classes.

I would advise taking a look at Pillars of Eternity to determine how to balance different classes. They've made a good job at making generally mundane classes more appealing (the "Chanter" which is essentially a balanced Bard, the "Cipher" which is essentially a spellcaster from Dark Sun, etc. Anything except the much too powerful cleric!)

 

Best of luck!

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It's interesting to see RPG's differences and similarities like that. The one thing listed that they all have in common is loot?!

 

Another common quality in RPGs is an interactive story and/or interactive dialogue.

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Does that sum up RPG mechanics I should add to my game?

 

That (incomplete) chart sums up a few of the RPG mechanics some other RPGs added to their games because it fit well with their designs.

 

There's no checklist of mechanics that should be added to your game (sad.png) - you have to ask yourself and figure out whether X or Y mechanic enhances your game and goes well with all the other mechanics in your design.

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You're jumping to the specifics much too quickly.
Before delving in the sort of weapons the player can purchase, you should know more about your setting (and more than just "each nation corresponds to an element" a ton of games do that, but they do it differently).
Before any of this, you should know how the game should look and feel, and what brands it apart from other games. Why it should be fun.
 
I like to start every major project by listing "tenets", or simple one-liners of what we'll do and what we won't do such as this:
 
- The world is split in 7 elements:
Each area hint subtly at its core element (through colored tones, etc.)
Each area has a few very specific landmarks that make the tie to the element much less subtle (lava cave in the fire domain, etc.)

 

I figured it would be a good idea to plan out the specifics first. Doing it as I go along hasn't really worked out for me in the past, so for this game I'd like to have a clear idea of what my end result will be. I don't think it's ever too early to make a plan. I agree that a developer should know the setting. My initial idea was to map each nation to a particular biome. I haven't finished world building, so there's a lot more I have to define for sure. In any case, I still want to make a general list of items that I might include.

 

Why should my game be fun? I don't really have an answer for that. Those are subjective questions, so it really depends on the player. Defining fun in words can be difficult. If you have suggestions for features you find fun or entertaining, I'm open to them.

 

 

 


How you split experience for classes seems like it could fall out of hands from a balancing standpoint very quickly.
I'm assuming this would be a multiplayer environment (based on your above graph) given as how WoW can only truly be a relevant reference if you intend for this to be multiplayer. Even as a single player experience however, balance could be an issue as it would effectively diminish the value of certain classes.

 

How would it be an issue? Here's an example of how the balancing would work:

  • Sword Wielding Experience -> Fighter 100 Mage 25 Ranger 25
  • Bow Wielding Experience -> Fighter 50 Mage 50 Ranger 100
  • Magic User Experience -> Fighter 25 Mage 100 Ranger 50

 

 


It's interesting to see RPG's differences and similarities like that. The one thing listed that they all have in common is loot?!
 
Another common quality in RPGs is an interactive story and/or interactive dialogue.

 

I found that interesting too. I'll work towards making the story and dialogue interactive.

 

 

 

Does that sum up RPG mechanics I should add to my game?

 

That (incomplete) chart sums up a few of the RPG mechanics some other RPGs added to their games because it fit well with their designs.

 

There's no checklist of mechanics that should be added to your game (sad.png) - you have to ask yourself and figure out whether X or Y mechanic enhances your game and goes well with all the other mechanics in your design.

 

 

At the moment, I feel like I've been dropped in the middle of a vast desert without a map. That's essentially the experience of trying to make a game for a particular genre without prior experience in that area, and without guidance. The reason why games, music, movies, art, etc. have been classified with different genres is because they share many features. They're different, of course, but they do have similar attributes. Romanic comedies tend to have romance and comedy. Heavy metal music usually includes guitars with distortion. I was only looking for a bit of guidance finding the general features that compose an RPG.

 

Edit: Fixed typos

Edited by On Rye

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I figured it would be a good idea to plan out the specifics first. Doing it as I go along hasn't really worked out for me in the past, so for this game I'd like to have a clear idea of what my end result will be. I don't think it's ever too early to make a plan.

 

This is not a plan, it's jumping the gun. By the time you're done with the basics, everything listed above risks being irrelevant because it is no longer part of the true experience.

The risk then is to "stick to the plan" and end up with a project that is incoherent and simply not a fun experience for the end-user, or "scrap it" and you'll have lost the time spent this early thinking about the nitty gritty.

 

One means to achieve this more efficiently is to picture a specific scene you think would be part of your experience and build is as a vertical slice. That way, you don't need to do everything, and you can quickly jump to a mock of the end result and verify that what you had in mind works.

 


Why should my game be fun? I don't really have an answer for that. Those are subjective questions, so it really depends on the player. Defining fun in words can be difficult. If you have suggestions for features you find fun or entertaining, I'm open to them.

 

Subjective, but not undefined. Games have demonstrated various fun mechanics that work through prototyping. Core is to prototype your simplest idea devoid of all its complexity and determine whether it is fun through trial and error (and peer testing).

 


How would it be an issue? Here's an example of how the balancing would work:
Sword Wielding Experience -> Fighter 100 Mage 25 Ranger 25
Bow Wielding Experience -> Fighter 50 Mage 50 Ranger 100
Magic User Experience -> Fighter 25 Mage 100 Ranger 50

 

Trust me, you'll figure it out before long when you actually implement this kind of idea.

Also, when thinking of balancing this way, have the player in mind. Why would the magic-user even try to use a sword then? If the intent is to discourage them from using it anyway, better altogether remove support.

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Orymus3

 

You didn't really answer any of my questions. huh.png If you're not going to explain to me why I'm doing something wrong, then how am I supposed to correct the behavior? Please don't raise an issue if you're not going to offer a means of ameliorating it, or at least explain your point of view so that I can better understand it.

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I was only looking for a bit of guidance finding the general features that compose an RPG.

I would say that a video-game RPG requires only that there be some means of shaping one's character, and especially that character's abilities, over the course of the game, and that doing so be a major part of the game. RPGs do tend to have other features in common, but that doesn't mean that those features are necessary for the game to be an RPG, just that current RPGs have them.

 

In many games this means an XP-and-levels system, and indeed, this is a fairly straightforward way of going about it. However, you could also have a non-levelling point-assignment system, or some means of acquiring mutually-exclusive skills directly in the game-world (think of the augmentations in the original Deus Ex, for example), or some other mechanic entirely.

 

An RPG needn't be combat-focussed, either; you could, theoretically, have an RPG based entirely around diplomacy and subterfuge, with the a set of stats along the lines of intelligence, charisma, lying and negotiation, allowing the player to level as an honest, intelligent diplomat; or a schemer who relies on charm rather than intellect; or one of a variety of other builds.

 

(I specify "video-game RPG" above because table-top or forum RPGs are different things, I believe; I'm less familiar with them, but as I understand it the core there is, well, role-playing: coming up with a character and acting within that character's personality and abilities.)

 


The reason why games, music, movies, art, etc. have been classified with different genres is because they share many features.

I would like to add a note on this point: beware of letting yourself be straight-jacketed by a genre's list of features; genres are descriptive, not prescriptive. Unless you have a particular reason to stick to a genre--a competition requirement, client brief, personal whim, or whatever--I'm inclined to suggest just making the game that you want to make, and worry about its genre later.

 

(Indeed, I'm inclined to think that adhering overly to genres limits the medium by virtue of discouraging expansion beyond the current state of things.)

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I was only looking for a bit of guidance finding the general features that compose an RPG.

I would say that a video-game RPG requires only that there be some means of shaping one's character, and especially that character's abilities, over the course of the game, and that doing so be a major part of the game. RPGs do tend to have other features in common, but that doesn't mean that those features are necessary for the game to be an RPG, just that current RPGs have them.

 

In many games this means an XP-and-levels system, and indeed, this is a fairly straightforward way of going about it. However, you could also have a non-levelling point-assignment system, or some means of acquiring mutually-exclusive skills directly in the game-world (think of the augmentations in the original Deus Ex, for example), or some other mechanic entirely.

 

An RPG needn't be combat-focussed, either; you could, theoretically, have an RPG based entirely around diplomacy and subterfuge, with the a set of stats along the lines of intelligence, charisma, lying and negotiation, allowing the player to level as an honest, intelligent diplomat; or a schemer who relies on charm rather than intellect; or one of a variety of other builds.

 

(I specify "video-game RPG" above because table-top or forum RPGs are different things, I believe; I'm less familiar with them, but as I understand it the core there is, well, role-playing: coming up with a character and acting within that character's personality and abilities.)

 

 


The reason why games, music, movies, art, etc. have been classified with different genres is because they share many features.

I would like to add a note on this point: beware of letting yourself be straight-jacketed by a genre's list of features; genres are descriptive, not prescriptive. Unless you have a particular reason to stick to a genre--a competition requirement, client brief, personal whim, or whatever--I'm inclined to suggest just making the game that you want to make, and worry about its genre later.

 

(Indeed, I'm inclined to think that adhering overly to genres limits the medium by virtue of discouraging expansion beyond the current state of things.)

 


Why would the magic-user even try to use a sword then?

I second this question.

 

What, precisely, is your intent with the sword/bow/magic -XP system? How do envision players building their characters? At a guess, do you want to encourage a form of multi-classing, or provide characters with "backup" abilities?

 

Come to that, how does the XP system work? Is damage dealt by a particular means (swords, magic, arrows, etc.) automatically siphoned into the relevant XP-pool (in which case it might be particularly important for a character to avoid using weapons outside of their class, in order to avoid "losing" XP in their main class), or is it manually assigned?

 

I like the idea that, for example, a mage can use a sword; but given that a mage will, under this system, never equal a warrior, why would they attempt to do so?

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Orymus3, on 15 Apr 2015 - 08:18 AM, said:

Why would the magic-user even try to use a sword then?
I second this question.
 
What, precisely, is your intent with the sword/bow/magic -XP system? How do envision players building their characters? At a guess, do you want to encourage a form of multi-classing, or provide characters with "backup" abilities?
 
Come to that, how does the XP system work? Is damage dealt by a particular means (swords, magic, arrows, etc.) automatically siphoned into the relevant XP-pool (in which case it might be particularly important for a character to avoid using weapons outside of their class, in order to avoid "losing" XP in their main class), or is it manually assigned?
 
I like the idea that, for example, a mage can use a sword; but given that a mage will, under this system, never equal a warrior, why would they attempt to do so?

 

Back-up abilities. In a battle situation, if you're battling an opponent that has a high magic defense, but is vulnerable to physical attacks, then it would make sense to use a sword with the mage so that you're not doing 6 DMG every turn. It wouldn't really matter that the experience cap is lower than a fighter's because the mage would get a damage multiplier (for using a physical attack against an opponent that's weak to physical attacks). Not as powerful as the fighter, but still relevant in the battle.

 


That way, any class can use any skill effectively (but not as effectively as a class with that specialty).

 

Stats could be used to interact with the world as well. Say a coin is locked inside a random room in a building. In order to open one door, you have to hit a target with an arrow. Well, unfortunately, you only have a fighter, a cleric, and a mage in your party. It wouldn't really be believable for a fighter to suddenly pick up a bow and shoot with 100% accuracy. But, if you bought a bow and your bow experience is above a certain threshold, then you'll be able to hit the target successfully without a ranger. It's just an example but, in short, the character's stats aren't necessarily for battle situations only.

 

As far as the XP system goes, I'll probably take out the use-based experience and just let the player max out everyone's stats to the aforementioned experience caps. That would be a lot simpler. 

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At the moment, I feel like I've been dropped in the middle of a vast desert without a map. That's essentially the experience of trying to make a game for a particular genre without prior experience in that area, and without guidance. The reason why games, music, movies, art, etc. have been classified with different genres is because they share many features. They're different, of course, but they do have similar attributes. Romanic comedies tend to have romance and comedy. Heavy metal music usually includes guitars with distortion. I was only looking for a bit of guidance finding the general features that compose an RPG.

 

Genres are ways for consumers to classify media, so they can more easily find similar media they might like ("You liked X? You might also like Y."). They aren't blueprints for designers to create the media. No new genres could ever be created if games are created from genres instead of vice-versa, and even more games would be identical clones of each other with just different artwork, if designers treated genres as blueprints instead of categories.

 

The earlier stages of designing a game are difficult, at least for me. I have loads of ideas, but then getting those ideas filtered down, discarding the ideas that don't fit, and figuring out what gaps exist in the design that need to be filled can be difficult.

 

You shouldn't limit yourself to "what is an RPG", especially since RPGs are all over the map with a huge amount of variation.

Take for example "turn based" vs "real time" - it's not one or the other, it's a spectrum with many games in between:

855c4a66df.png

 

Or take something as simple as leveling up. There are probably a dozen different ways to handle it. Experience is a common one, but some games have multiple forms of experience. Fable for example, has four types - three categorical experiences and one general experience, and you spend the experience like currency on leveling up individual skills. Paper Mario has it that every time you level up, you choose one of three upgrades (health, mana, or equipment slots). Quest 64 lets you level up normally, and each level up gives you a skill point but you can also find instant skill points hidden across the world - and Quest 64 stat points improve only through usage of that stat (i.e. you get more health the more you get beaten up). King's Field skills can only be found by finding hidden skill points in the world.

 

It's great to look at other games for ideas, but less beneficial to look at other games as the "mould" your game needs to fit into.

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At the moment, I feel like I've been dropped in the middle of a vast desert without a map. That's essentially the experience of trying to make a game for a particular genre without prior experience in that area, and without guidance. The reason why games, music, movies, art, etc. have been classified with different genres is because they share many features. They're different, of course, but they do have similar attributes. Romanic comedies tend to have romance and comedy. Heavy metal music usually includes guitars with distortion. I was only looking for a bit of guidance finding the general features that compose an RPG.

 

Genres are ways for consumers to classify media, so they can more easily find similar media they might like ("You liked X? You might also like Y."). They aren't blueprints for designers to create the media. No new genres could ever be created if games are created from genres instead of vice-versa, and even more games would be identical clones of each other with just different artwork, if designers treated genres as blueprints instead of categories.

 

The earlier stages of designing a game are difficult, at least for me. I have loads of ideas, but then getting those ideas filtered down, discarding the ideas that don't fit, and figuring out what gaps exist in the design that need to be filled can be difficult.

 

You shouldn't limit yourself to "what is an RPG", especially since RPGs are all over the map with a huge amount of variation.

Take for example "turn based" vs "real time" - it's not one or the other, it's a spectrum with many games in between:

855c4a66df.png

 

Or take something as simple as leveling up. There are probably a dozen different ways to handle it. Experience is a common one, but some games have multiple forms of experience. Fable for example, has four types - three categorical experiences and one general experience, and you spend the experience like currency on leveling up individual skills. Paper Mario has it that every time you level up, you choose one of three upgrades (health, mana, or equipment slots). Quest 64 lets you level up normally, and each level up gives you a skill point but you can also find instant skill points hidden across the world - and Quest 64 stat points improve only through usage of that stat (i.e. you get more health the more you get beaten up). King's Field skills can only be found by finding hidden skill points in the world.

 

It's great to look at other games for ideas, but less beneficial to look at other games as the "mould" your game needs to fit into.

 

 

When did I ever say that I am going to do nothing more than what I find in other games? I said that I wanted to make a standard RPG. If I wanted to make a standard platformer, I'd need to know that jumping is an important game mechanic in that genre. If I said ARPG, then I'd need to know that the combat should probably be real-time. That's what I meant. In all seriousness, in the main post I mentioned that "I want to try something different in this game". I am not going to make a Mario clone out of this project. I just want to know what kinds of swords you'd like to see, if my battle system looks ok, if you'd like to change any element of my story, if you have suggestions for crafting, if you read my acting section and have any comments there (my entire game design was based on this), and anything else you'd like to add. Please.

 

If I wanted to make a clone of FF or Dragon Quest, I could do so without wasting anyone's time posting here and asking questions. I wouldn't be lost or confused because those games would be my "blueprints". Period. Pac-Man made. However, I'm making a game that is about using strategic gambits to win a worldwide competition. That would require role-playing. But it was only after researching swords, fencing, natural elements, and even judo (yes, I was going to make the game about a judo tournament before this), when I said to myself, "Why not make this an RPG? I'm finally at a point where that's possible." Then I started thinking about RPG mechanics, what sorts of things other games have done, and what I can do differently. How can I answer the latter without being aware of the former?

 

If there is a game like this already (verbatim), then I will cease and desist. It's not like you're playing an RPG where you're a male warrior who has to save a princess [and the world] for the hundredth time. That would a clone of a lot of things already out there, not to mention cliche. My intention was never to do such a thing. If you interpreted my feedback request as such, I'm sorry.

 

Edit: Judo actually sounds like a better idea now.

Edited by On Rye

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When did I ever say that I am going to do nothing more than what I find in other games?


All sorts of people are making games and posting design questions here, with a wide range of skills and experience, so I have to try to figure out what they mean and where they're at from a few sets of paragraphs and, based off of that estimation, whether any of my limited knowledge would be useful to them. If I accidentally mis-interpreted your mindset or goals, I definitely meant no offense and was not trying to belittle you. sad.png 

In particular, I wasn't accusing you of making a clone, or of lacking imagination, I was just warning of two potential pitfalls that it looked like you might be walking into:

Potential Pitfall A: If I set out to make a game in a specific genre, I don't want to accidentally box myself into the genre so tightly that I can't innovate within it or cross-pollinate from other genres - I don't want to accidentally give myself genre tunnel-vision.

Potential Pitfall B: If I want to make a game, and I see other games doing X and Y, I need to be aware that what worked for one game given the entirety of that game's designs and features may not work as well for my game unless I'm also thinking about how it works with the rest of my game's design. That is to say, features don't exist in a vacuum independent of each other.

If you already know that, great! I'd rather have shared it with you already knowing it, then for me not to share it when you weren't aware of it (and hey, maybe someone else will read this thread and benefit from it). Plus, I need to remind myself of this pretty frequently even when I already 'know it'. laugh.png 

I probably fixated too much on the graph and the question "Does that sum up RPG mechanics I should add to my game?".
My answer to that one question is 'no', in the sense that it doesn't 'sum up RPG mechanics', being very un-comprehensive (in that I mean it's not, "complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something."), and also 'no' in the sense that (someone, anyone) shouldn't "add to [their] game" purely because it's an RPG, which is what I thought you were asking (possibly incorrectly).

My point about 'turn based' vs 'real-time' was just an example of the chart's incompleteness; not a suggestion for your game. Same with what I meant about the different forms of skill leveling in games - not intended as a suggestion for your design, but intended as commentary on the chart itself.
 

Then I started thinking about RPG mechanics, what sorts of things other games have done, and what I can do differently. How can I answer the latter without being aware of the former?


Certainly, and that definitely makes sense! I just completely misinterpreted your question, thinking you were asking what we thought you should add, mechanic-wise, to your game. Asking for details about what other games have done makes perfect sense, and is a completely different question entirely!

Thankfully, in my previous post I did provide some details about what other games do. Maybe it'll be useful to you, maybe not.
 

If there is a game like this already (verbatim), then I will cease and desist.

I wasn't I trying to discourage you from making a game; merely give advice in how to approach the design.
 

It's not like you're playing an RPG where you're a male warrior who has to save a princess [and the world] for the hundredth time. That would a clone of a lot of things already out there, not to mention cliche.

I wasn't even thinking of story/plot when talking about the game design. In my personal (and novicely!) view of game design, I view story, artwork, level design, music, etc... as game content and, while influencing each other, less integrated with the gameplay features - which, based on your questions, I thought was what you meant by "mechanics". While content and mechanics definitely interact, I find it beneficial to remember both that they need to cohesively fit together as a whole but also that they are separate and disconnected components. I probably lean too far to the second half of that myself. wink.png 

I didn't bother with much more than a glance at the rest of your design (which I didn't responding to), partly because other people were already responding to it, partly because I was only interested in responding to a particular part of your post, but mostly because I agree with Orymus that "You're jumping to the specifics much too quickly.". Either you're focusing too much on details that don't matter at this step of the design process (in my opinion) or, if you're beyond that step of the design process, you're posting too much content-related details (also in my opinion) that aren't relevant to the game-mechanic question I thought you were asking.

Apparently I'm completely off-base, but hopefully you can eek some value out of my posts anyway! 
Best of luck on your project; sorry I couldn't provide the help you were looking for. smile.png

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In particular, I wasn't accusing you of making a clone, or of lacking imagination, I was just warning of two potential pitfalls that it looked like you might be walking into:
Potential Pitfall A: If I set out to make a game in a specific genre, I don't want to accidentally box myself into the genre so tightly that I can't innovate within it or cross-pollinate from other genres - I don't want to accidentally give myself genre tunnel-vision.

Potential Pitfall B: If I want to make a game, and I see other games doing X and Y, I need to be aware that what worked for one game given the entirety of that game's designs and features may not work as well for my game unless I'm also thinking about how it works with the rest of my game's design. That is to say, features don't exist in a vacuum independent of each other.

 

Ok, I understand. Thanks for sharing that with me. I noticed that I was starting to get a bit too caught up in stat management, even though it's not exactly a necessary part of the game with respect to the story. So I'll keep an eye on that in the future, for sure.

 


I didn't bother with much more than a glance at the rest of your design (which I didn't responding to), partly because other people were already responding to it, partly because I was only interested in responding to a particular part of your post, but mostly because I agree with Orymus that "You're jumping to the specifics much too quickly.". Either you're focusing too much on details that don't matter at this step of the design process (in my opinion) or, if you're beyond that step of the design process, you're posting too much content-related details (also in my opinion) that aren't relevant to the game-mechanic question I thought you were asking.

 

Right, right. I need to work on phrasing my questions so I can stop confusing myself and others who read them. Or maybe I just wasn't sure what my question was at first. In any case, it's my own fault. Sorry about that. I'm really beginning to feel the pressure of time constraints right now, and as a result I end up sprinting at full speed rather than starting at a modest jog. What can I do? Haha...

 


Apparently I'm completely off-base, but hopefully you can eek some value out of my posts anyway! 
Best of luck on your project; sorry I couldn't provide the help you were looking for. 

 

Completely the opposite. I need to rethink many aspects of this project, and your posts have inspired some deep thought. Thanks a bunch for bothering to help a novice like me. I'll do my best.

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However, I'm making a game that is about using strategic gambits to win a worldwide competition. That would require role-playing.

We're coming to a point. If this is the main feature of your design, focus on it.

  • What about the worldwide competition itself? is it a form of ritualized war, a very important sport (like ancient Olympics), something that important characters do but isn't really important itself (like the martial arts tournaments in Dragonball), a "gamification" of a real quest to fetch actually important objects, or something else? One way or the other, it has to matter, or it won't be the equal of more commonplace character-growth or save-the-world heroic plots.
  • What are "strategic gambits"? Start from elementary player moves, and find ways to build clever plans out of them.
  • Choosing the right answers in a dialogue tree is a puzzle, not role-playing. Indeed, Building a fairly arbitrary party of contestants, as opposed to being given some specific plot-ingrained characters, makes the characters generic and faceless.
  • Look at game mechanics from the point of view of the competition. For example, do you have combat (presumably not at all lethal) against the other contestants, which are the PC party's equals, or combat (presumably unequal and lethal) against a variety of enemies and guardians? Very different combat rules are needed in each case.

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What about the worldwide competition itself? is it a form of ritualized war, a very important sport (like ancient Olympics), something that important characters do but isn't really important itself (like the martial arts tournaments in Dragonball), a "gamification" of a real quest to fetch actually important objects, or something else? One way or the other, it has to matter, or it won't be the equal of more commonplace character-growth or save-the-world heroic plots.

 

Those are good questions. I actually answered these under the story section of my original post (I'll summarize it here, but it's better explained there). It's an Olympic-style game that's held annually to demonstrate the strategic abilities of the seven nations. Also, it serves a sort of diplomatic purpose to maintain good relations with the other countries. The purpose that drives the contestants is to represent their home nations well in the competition. I'll have to give each main character a unique goal as I continue development.

 


What are "strategic gambits"? Start from elementary player moves, and find ways to build clever plans out of them.

 

I mentioned this in the main post as well (under Acting). Here is the link I referenced [gambits]. I thought those were pretty cool when I first read them. I recommend giving it a quick read-through to understand why I thought it would make for a great role-playing game. I just need to figure out how to tie them into gameplay. If you have any suggestions after reading that index, I'm interested in hearing (er, reading) your thoughts on this.

 

How do you envision elementary player moves? What I mean is, are you referring to the overworld map movement or srpg battles?

 


Choosing the right answers in a dialogue tree is a puzzle, not role-playing. Indeed, Building a fairly arbitrary party of contestants, as opposed to being given some specific plot-ingrained characters, makes the characters generic and faceless.

 

Do you mean that I should assign a party rather than let the player build one? If so, I'd like to do it in a way that still feels like the player is building a party and discovering these [plot-relevant] contestants. For example, if there is a maximum of 5 party members to a team, then I'll add a plot-relevant character from the first four nations the player visits (there are seven in all). The remaining three plot-relevant characters would get an alternate story script. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors has a flavor of this in allowing the player to choose a path and adjusting the story accordingly. I'm not sure if it would work here. Does that make sense?

 


Look at game mechanics from the point of view of the competition. For example, do you have combat (presumably not at all lethal) against the other contestants, which are the PC party's equals, or combat (presumably unequal and lethal) against a variety of enemies and guardians? Very different combat rules are needed in each case.

 

Right. I explain a bit about the combat system under Turn-Based battles in my original post. It's non-lethal, and the battle actually ends when the opponents HP reaches 20%. I was thinking that it would be against the party's equals (if you mean other contestants) if the player chose to use combat in the combat/stealth/diplomacy gameplay model.

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I don't think there's anything wrong with the kinds of ideas you put down. There's nothing wrong with brainstorming. Just don't get too attached to specific details, like which swords are going to be in the game. I've been caught in this kind of trap before, coming up with a long list of things to be in a game, then when I got down to making the thing I find that the basic idea didn't work like I thought, and the whole list is thrown out.

 

I'm also brainstorming for an RPG. Looking to other games for elements that you might want to add to your game can help the brainstorming process. Just keep in mind that it's not a check list of things you have to add, and sometimes it's better to remove things when a design gets too complicated.

 

I would say that a video-game RPG requires only that there be some means of shaping one's character, and especially that character's abilities, over the course of the game, and that doing so be a major part of the game. RPGs do tend to have other features in common, but that doesn't mean that those features are necessary for the game to be an RPG, just that current RPGs have them.

 

Well said!

Edited by DifferentName

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You didn't really answer any of my questions. If you're not going to explain to me why I'm doing something wrong, then how am I supposed to correct the behavior? Please don't raise an issue if you're not going to offer a means of ameliorating it, or at least explain your point of view so that I can better understand it.

 

Didn't I?

 


What do you think? Thanks for reading this post.

 

Your original question...

 


You're jumping to the specifics much too quickly.
Before delving in the sort of weapons the player can purchase, you should know more about your setting (and more than just "each nation corresponds to an element" a ton of games do that, but they do it differently).
Before any of this, you should know how the game should look and feel, and what brands it apart from other games. Why it should be fun.
 
I like to start every major project by listing "tenets", or simple one-liners of what we'll do and what we won't do such as this:
 
- The world is split in 7 elements:
Each area hint subtly at its core element (through colored tones, etc.)
Each area has a few very specific landmarks that make the tie to the element much less subtle (lava cave in the fire domain, etc.)
 

I also like to think that RPGs, in general, are better designed top-down: define the feeling you seek to attain, and then determine what features lead you to it (which may very well be counter-intuitive to most designers).
 
How you split experience for classes seems like it could fall out of hands from a balancing standpoint very quickly.
I'm assuming this would be a multiplayer environment (based on your above graph) given as how WoW can only truly be a relevant reference if you intend for this to be multiplayer. Even as a single player experience however, balance could be an issue as it would effectively diminish the value of certain classes.
I would advise taking a look at Pillars of Eternity to determine how to balance different classes. They've made a good job at making generally mundane classes more appealing (the "Chanter" which is essentially a balanced Bard, the "Cipher" which is essentially a spellcaster from Dark Sun, etc. Anything except the much too powerful cleric!)
 

Best of luck!

 

My original reply.

(Bold = actual answers to your question above)

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You didn't really answer any of my questions. If you're not going to explain to me why I'm doing something wrong, then how am I supposed to correct the behavior? Please don't raise an issue if you're not going to offer a means of ameliorating it, or at least explain your point of view so that I can better understand it.

 

Didn't I?

 

I had to read through all the posts to find where I said this. I wasn't referring to your first post (the one you quoted). I was referring to your second post. 

 

When I posted that, it was after I replied to you the first time. At that point, I offhandedly asked for your suggestions of features you find fun or entertaining, and directly asked how the game mechanic would be an issue. When you responded, you didn't comment on the first. For the latter, you said "Trust me, you'll figure it out ..." That's the post I was talking about. I should have quoted it to avoid confusion.

 

I hope this clears things up. Your first post did address my original questions. I wasn't disputing that at all.

Edited by On Rye

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I did not imply that I knew what would be wrong with this balancing, just that you would figure it out as you go. In essence, trying to balance this early is impossible. There's a theoretical foundation to game balancing, but it needs to stand the test of actual playtesting.

I wouldn't focus too much on numbers for now, they get in the way of what you're trying to convey.

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If that original diagram contained the Pokemon games then there would be at least one with no loot.

 

Unless you count capturing the Pokemon as loot...

 

Anyway, the main thought that struck me is that if you have a class system that determines some attributes like caps and so on at the beginning, maybe don't have an exp system where what skills you use get more exp. It seems like you only need one of those two systems, having both does not (to me at least) seem to add anything to the game-play. Either pick a class at the beginning, or focus on a play type that will indirectly determine your class. Maybe I'm missing something though. 

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I did not imply that I knew what would be wrong with this balancing, just that you would figure it out as you go. In essence, trying to balance this early is impossible. There's a theoretical foundation to game balancing, but it needs to stand the test of actual playtesting.

I wouldn't focus too much on numbers for now, they get in the way of what you're trying to convey.

 

I can definitely agree with that. smile.png

 

 

If that original diagram contained the Pokemon games then there would be at least one with no loot.

 

Unless you count capturing the Pokemon as loot...

 

Haha...no, but you actually get literal loot (money) from the trainers you beat. If you're talking about Pokemon Colosseum though, that's a different story.

 

 

 


Anyway, the main thought that struck me is that if you have a class system that determines some attributes like caps and so on at the beginning, maybe don't have an exp system where what skills you use get more exp. It seems like you only need one of those two systems, having both does not (to me at least) seem to add anything to the game-play. Either pick a class at the beginning, or focus on a play type that will indirectly determine your class. Maybe I'm missing something though. 
 

 

No, you're not missing anything. That's perfectly reasonable. I'm leaning toward just picking a class at the beginning. No need to complicate things in the early stages. I realize that now. If a mage has strong spells but weak physical attacks, then it really would be ridiculous to use a melee weapon. I don't know what I was thinking before.

Edited by On Rye

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. It's an Olympic-style game that's held annually to demonstrate the strategic abilities of the seven nations. Also, it serves a sort of diplomatic purpose to maintain good relations with the other countries. The purpose that drives the contestants is to represent their home nations well in the competition. I'll have to give each main character a unique goal as I continue development.
There's an obvious divide between a game in which the goal is winning the Games and design choices lean towards a fair strategy game (custom-built arbitrary characters, evenly matched resources and conditions, etc.) and a more traditional plot where "each main character a unique goal" and there are main characters to begin with and design choices lean towards a challenging and engaging journey (tight control of the difficulty of uneven battles, adjustment of resources according to contingencies). It seems you are trying to do two different things at the same time.

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. It's an Olympic-style game that's held annually to demonstrate the strategic abilities of the seven nations. Also, it serves a sort of diplomatic purpose to maintain good relations with the other countries. The purpose that drives the contestants is to represent their home nations well in the competition. I'll have to give each main character a unique goal as I continue development.
There's an obvious divide between a game in which the goal is winning the Games and design choices lean towards a fair strategy game (custom-built arbitrary characters, evenly matched resources and conditions, etc.) and a more traditional plot where "each main character a unique goal" and there are main characters to begin with and design choices lean towards a challenging and engaging journey (tight control of the difficulty of uneven battles, adjustment of resources according to contingencies). It seems you are trying to do two different things at the same time.

 

 

You'll have to explain a bit more about the divide you mention (I don't really understand what you mean). Someone mentioned earlier that it would be beneficial to have plot-relevant characters, so I've begun to trek down that path. The goal of the game is to win, of course, but each character needs to have a personal reason for wanting to participate. Otherwise, there wouldn't really be a story (I don't think there would be one, anyway). That aspect is there so that players might care about the characters in the game, and help them achieve their goals.

 

On both sides, the point of the competition is that it is unbalanced. So for that reason, strategies need to be used by the player to tactically earn coins throughout the game. For instance, if the player encounters a party that is obviously stronger, then battle might be ruled out. In that situation, the player can choose to use stealth (follow the party without being discovered, wait for them fall asleep, search for where they hid the coins). I don't know.

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My goal is to create a very standard, single-player turn-based RPG.

...

Any feedback would be appreciated!

 

then just make a computerized version of classic edition tabletop d&d rules and be done with it.

 

RPGs are about role playing - being someone else in some other world.  To do that you need to simulate a world to play in.   So you need to model how everything in the world works - combat, experience, magic, etc.   Game mechanics are how one models these things.   Modeling in simulations can be accurate or inaccurate.   Which leads to game mechanics that are realistic and make sense, or game mechanics which seem contrived.  Game mechanics are merely a way to simulate things in the world.  As  PCs become more powerful, the fidelity of such simulations can be increased.  Now there's enough processor power for realtime combat. turn based simulation is no longer necessary.  So turn based is not required, in fact its a sub-optimal game mechanic (way of modeling time in combat), which you only had to settle for when the PC couldn't do realtime combat, or when you were playing a tabletop rpg where realtime combat can't really be modeled at all - except as a turn based approximation of what you're trying to simulate.

 

loot - most rpg's model treasure / money in some form.

 

XP - most rpg's model the gaining of knowledge, skill , and experience over time.  various means of modeling this include general xp, skill specific xp, classes, levels, and skills.

some games have classes, some have skills, some have both. some have xp, some have levels, some have both. 

 

Story is not required in an RPG. the player actions define the story. any storyline in the game is basically an optional or mandatory quest.

 

Acting - the idea in role playing is to give the player the opportunity to behave as their character would.  Whether they choose to do this is up to them.  As dungeon master, its your job to set the stage and present the situation, its the player's job to act accordingly to their character. 

 

(FYI: i've been playing RPG's for 38 years, and have been a ref and DM for 37 years).

 

Turn based battles - a less accurate way of modeling realtime combat,  which is no longer necessary given the power of today's PCs.

 

Party - common, but purely optional. 

 

Lone hero - do they mean "hard coded protagonist" (you play mario, and only mario, every time) or "no other party members" (character creation, but no henchmen).

as part of "role playing", its common to let the payer choose the role they wish to play.   this leads to things like classes, or specialization in specific skills (like magic, sword, SMG, Communications, Heavy Weapons, or stealth) that let the player customize their character. other ways its done is letting them choose from a fixed set of hard coded characters, or no choice (in Zelda, you play Link!).

 

Exploration - pretty much all RPGs have this.   You can't go places in the world without exploring (except for stuff like fast travel between hold capitals in skyrim).  a typical dungeon romp includes exploration, even if you've cleaned out the dungeon before, you still need to explore it again to find new badguys that have re-populated it.

arena combat might be the only place where you don't explore.  but then again, an arena combat only game might not even be considered a RPG.

 

you've determined your setting already:

 

"the seven countries of the world (each based on a particular element)."

 

it looks like you've opted for a mandatory main quest:

 

"the player's goal is to form a party and collect the most coins within 90 days"

 

now all you need to do is decide what you want to model in your world, and how to model it (select a mechanic).

 

the key is to remember that game mechanics are means of modeling things in a simulation. not an ends in themselves. 

 

if you want a better model, lose arbitrary things like turn based, classes, and levels, and go with more accurate continuous (vs discreet) modeling such as realtime, skills, and xp in specific skills.  

 

for some strange reason, folks seem to think that games are about game mechanics. and that good mechanics makes a good game, and if only i can find the right combo of game mechanics i'll have the next big hit.

 

games are simulations, good simulations (of something the player wants to do) make good games.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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