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QuinnVarcoe

RPG Generator Idea

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RPG Generator Idea

Platform: PC (Windows)

Genre: Role Playing Game
Theme: Any




Core design goals


- Creates a game separate from what even the developer chose to create.

- Has a nearly random generation, but slightly modifiable user input system to create a setting where the player can feel comfortable.

- Allows every players experience to be unique.

 



This idea purely theoretical, but at the current time I would like to explore this idea for a little while. Why not right? wink.png 

My goal is to create a universe for each player to feel at home and have the best experience possible, not necessarily the easiest or most boring. I want to create, essentially, a RPG world generator.

The best part about this goal is that this CAN be achieved. All it has to do is use a bunch of "survey" answers, to generate a world in which a player can feel unique, and where the quest line fits what they want to do in that instance.


Question I am looking to ask here is:

Who else is believes that this idea could go somewhere in the right hands?
Who has some good ideas for some the basic survey questions?
What exactly goes into YOUR favorite RPG experience?



Here is what I am currently working with/trying to fill out in terms of this "Survey":
 

- Name

- Enemy/Rival Name
- Alignment
- Favorite Stat (Strength, Intelligence, Agility, etc.)

- Favorite Color
- Fantasy cultures

- Favorite School Subject
- Time Period
- Element Selector (maybe each thing on the periodic table has a unique use?)
- Epic Destiny (maybe a fill in the blank that searches for key words?)


Notes:
- This might be posted in the wrong section, I'm not sure where to put it, but input from a community sounds pretty cool.
- I would like to include additional questions that make the story line a little more "random", that help define how you level up, what your abilities are like, the currency you use, and the how items are generated.
- Maybe this could be a community project for fun? (I Don't know quite how this community works, viewed 3-5 posts where people seemed to be helpful)

Thanks in advance for the advice, and I'm looking forward to going further into depth on how this community work and how I can become a more common member in it. smile.png 
 

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I think sometimes the fun (or at least half the fun) is with not knowing.  The way the world and characters are presented to me and the order it happens in has a immense impact on my love for some games.  Now I'm not knocking your idea but I think that if the survey is too direct it will take away some of the magic that happens when one truly enjoys a game for the first time.

 

Also will all games generated share the same battle system?

 


Who else is believes that this idea could go somewhere in the right hands?
Who has some good ideas for some the basic survey questions?
What exactly goes into YOUR favorite RPG experience?

The last one I sort of answered above, it was the experience... learning the world, meeting characters...

Yes the idea could go somewhere in the right hands but I would also like to mention what you want to accomplish is alot harder to implement than you think.  At least assuming you want to make the game more engaging than simple linear "point a to point b" quests.

I'd need to think abit as to what survey questions I'd come up with.

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I think sometimes the fun (or at least half the fun) is with not knowing.  The way the world and characters are presented to me and the order it happens in has a immense impact on my love for some games.  Now I'm not knocking your idea but I think that if the survey is too direct it will take away some of the magic that happens when one truly enjoys a game for the first time.


Some good points

The goal would to be to generate something different every time so even the person developing the game could have a new experience.

I assume at some point this includes the battle system too.

In terms of graphics, yes this would be difficult to implement.

At face value of how you determine stats would be entirely based off of how many choices you give them, and if you give them 20 choices for 30 questions the possibilities equal 20^30

At some point the amount of work to generate, for example DNA in the human cell (which uses four nucleotides to generate all genes in the human body.) using nucleotides out ways the amount of work it would take to implement literally every single human being in existance, or that has existed.

Edited by QuinnVarcoe

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"a nearly random generation"

 

 

Good World Generators have to be mostly NON Random as their sub-pieces that are created have to interrelate in logical ways  and those interelations usually are irregular patterns of logic/fit.   Things have to fit together or you just get a disjunct mess (unless you have an utterly simple world).

 

Simple example is terrain generation which has pretty standard (understood) patterns of how terrain has to be put together.

When the major features are "seeded" (thats the random part) and then the more detailed building follows those hinted patterns and expands hierarchically into the final result.    The original seeds (and internmediate results)  themselves can conflict and require backtracking to patch and resolve into a cohesive result.  (Ie- a waterfall next to a desert is rather hard-to-fit combination)

 

Terrain is simple compared to ecologies or societies which have magnitudes more complex 'proper' interrelations.

 

When specific features with significant limitations are allowed to be specified the generation becomes driven by those key factors  and frequently ALOT of the processing is trying to get those details to fit together (with each other and the more generic less constrained world details)

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Good World Generators have to be mostly NON Random as their sub-pieces that are created have to interrelate in logical ways  and those interelations usually are irregular patterns of logic/fit.   Things have to fit together or you just get a disjunct mess (unless you have an utterly simple world).
 
Simple example is terrain generation which has pretty standard (understood) patterns of how terrain has to be put together.
When the major features are "seeded" (thats the random part) and then the more detailed building follows those hinted patterns and expands hierarchically into the final result.    The original seeds (and internmediate results)  themselves can conflict and require backtracking to patch and resolve into a cohesive result.  (Ie- a waterfall next to a desert is rather hard-to-fit combination)


 

I think what I meant to say about this stuff was more along the lines of what your saying, but rather a way more complex version, and of course it would be difficult to put together, but I assume it would be possible to put it together with enough work.


Out of curiosity what methods (do they have a name) will you be using to implement the generator?


I have no clue what they would be called, once again this is what if it was possible, how would it work.

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The best part about this goal is that this CAN be achieved.

Maybe I read out of context but the impression I got from the line above is you had an idea of how you were going to go about implementing it.  There have been discussions on dynamic story generation before but your survey idea is pretty new.  Although the first thing I thought of was I read the survey part was IIRC Ulitma, and the questions they asked at starting a new game.

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Maybe I read out of context but the impression I got from the line above is you had an idea of how you were going to go about implementing it.  There have been discussions on dynamic story generation before but your survey idea is pretty new.  Although the first thing I thought of was I read the survey part was IIRC Ulitma, and the questions they asked at starting a new game.



When I said that I meant in terms of generating the data, opposed to the graphics. I meant how the story line goes through. By what I'm saying, each choice has a numerical value that helps determine something. For example, creating a way to level up based on these questions would be:

- Favorite Number 1-1000 (Determines how much XP it would take to reach the next level, and in turn determines how much XP each monster at level 1 would award)
- Favorite Stat (What each level would give the most "points" to, saying that each time you level up, each stat gets a certain amount stronger)
- Favorite Time of day ((Yes, it could possibly even be this random.) The hour could then, for example, be used to divide the XP to get to the next level to determine the average weapon strength)
- Length of the player's selected name (An additional numerical value that could determine how much each stat goes up with each level?)

This is more or less the type of idea I had about implementing it, though I have nothing solid, I figure with the right random questions you could collect enough data to generate a layout of a RPG world that player would enjoy, and then take that data, and have it actually build it with what the player choose.

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Lets say for a quest A you need item A.  But item A was randomly placed in castle B.  The guards block you from entering castle B until you complete quest B.  You because this is random can't get quest B until you finish quest A.  If this scenario or one like it was generated randomly the player would be stuck.  There are many things you need to look out for when generating quests, have you thought through what you need to look out for or even how to represent quests so that you can check for situations like the above?

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survey part was IIRC Ulitma

This + dwarf fortress

 

Yes, I think that it is possible, because the survey is just a hidden configuration (in ultima you configure your character). The best and most deep world generation (including history generation and conflicts etc.) is used by dwarf fortress.

 

I would check out dwarf fortress, I think it is mod-able and you can quickly test-out your survey idea. Dwarf fortress is although a good game to compare your goals. Does DF deliver what you have in mind ? If not, then you will have a problem, if more than that, you could be lucky. DF is by far the most complex fantasy world simulation I know and implementing such a beast is one of the most challenging tasks in game development.

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general questions/settings when building a world:
 

- difficulty settings(agressiveness of certain NPCs, strength of NPCs)

- memory of NPCs(do they still care you broke in their house an hour later)

- size of the world

- timeflow(day/night cycle, maybe the night only takes 1/4th of the time of the day or vice versa)

- population-density(maybe broken down for specific types of population)

- something about advanced skills availability,

  basically character-creation but without balancing out the characters between each other, some are supposed to be hard/easy.

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Lets say for a quest A you need item A.  But item A was randomly placed in castle B.  The guards block you from entering castle B until you complete quest B.  You because this is random can't get quest B until you finish quest A.  If this scenario or one like it was generated randomly the player would be stuck.  There are many things you need to look out for when generating quests, have you thought through what you need to look out for or even how to represent quests so that you can check for situations like the above?


Imagine that each quest grants the same type of rewards,

A item
Exp
Currency
Another Quest (For example has a 100% chance to be created)
A Side Quest (For example has a 35% chance to be created)

As you can see, most quests consist of the same components.


Yes, I think that it is possible, because the survey is just a hidden configuration (in ultima you configure your character). The best and most deep world generation (including history generation and conflicts etc.) is used by dwarf fortress.
 
I would check out dwarf fortress, I think it is mod-able and you can quickly test-out your survey idea. Dwarf fortress is although a good game to compare your goals. Does DF deliver what you have in mind ? If not, then you will have a problem, if more than that, you could be lucky. DF is by far the most complex fantasy world simulation I know and implementing such a beast is one of the most challenging tasks in game development.



Thanks for the advice, I'll look at it and get back to everyone.

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Thanks, for the help! Dwarf Fortress carries alot of the same ideas for generating this stuff, though it seems this is more is about a sandbox world generation, that is on a 2d plane.happy.png 

For anyone still confused on what exactly I'm looking to do, you could say it could be the same type of "Random" generation.

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Have you GM'd any roleplaying games before? I think that's great practice for thinking about this particular design problem. Or even just finding a forum or blog on the topic and reading what people love and hate in a GM. Since the game is being run by a human, you do get to tailor the world to your players. With something like this you can try to capture some of that flexibility a human brings to the role of running a game.

 

You mention favorite stat and giving a bonus to it: Advice I've taken to heart in GM'ing is to try to give everyone a chance to use a skill of theirs every session. Did somebody spend points in 'swim'? Then they're going to have to cross a raging river. Diplomacy? Ok, cancel the ambush, the bandits will bar the way forward and give an opportunity to convince them otherwise. Rather than just giving a bonus to strength, face the player with gates to pull down and arm wrestling contests and having to hold back an avalanche of boulders.

 

At one point I GM'd a game with first time players who turned out to really, really enjoy being petty criminals. In the first session the crown prince was escaping from an evil uncle. The players were supposed to help smuggle him from the city, and then go on quests for him to consolidate some power, and then he'd rise up and seize his rightful crown. Instead the players promptly sold his location to the city guard. Ok, fine, I took the information about the players and learned I had to lead this group with promises of ill-gotten gains instead of calls to their sense of right. Can your game learn similar things? Give the player an opportunity to help the princess with a minor problem. If they jump at the chance, great, start a love story. If not, are they interested in the prince instead? Or maybe love stories just aren't there bag, and let's get back to the dungeons.

 

You can get some of this stuff from a survey, but you can also just observe the player for much of it. Instead of saying their favorite stat is strength, you can just see which stat they improve. Instead of asking for alignment, you can give them good and evil choices and see which they take.

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You can get some of this stuff from a survey, but you can also just observe the player for much of it. Instead of saying their favorite stat is strength, you can just see which stat they improve. Instead of asking for alignment, you can give them good and evil choices and see which they take.


Thanks for the advice, but sadly some of this stuff would have to be known as the game is created, though yes, some of it can be observed.

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You can get some of this stuff from a survey, but you can also just observe the player for much of it. Instead of saying their favorite stat is strength, you can just see which stat they improve. Instead of asking for alignment, you can give them good and evil choices and see which they take.


Thanks for the advice, but sadly some of this stuff would have to be known as the game is created, though yes, some of it can be observed.

 

 

Why? Until a player talks to the merchant they don't know if he wants them to protect him or assassinate a rival. Until a player enters a dungeon, they don't know if it's filled with devious traps or hulking trolls.

 

Even the world map doesn't need to be set, strictly speaking, until its observed. If the player sails away from island 1 at the first opportunity, lay down island 2 at that point and keep it low level. If they stay on island 1 until the endgame, make island 2 a volcanic fortress for the big fight at the end.

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You can get some of this stuff from a survey, but you can also just observe the player for much of it. Instead of saying their favorite stat is strength, you can just see which stat they improve. Instead of asking for alignment, you can give them good and evil choices and see which they take.


Thanks for the advice, but sadly some of this stuff would have to be known as the game is created, though yes, some of it can be observed.

 

 

Why? Until a player talks to the merchant they don't know if he wants them to protect him or assassinate a rival. Until a player enters a dungeon, they don't know if it's filled with devious traps or hulking trolls.

 

Even the world map doesn't need to be set, strictly speaking, until its observed. If the player sails away from island 1 at the first opportunity, lay down island 2 at that point and keep it low level. If they stay on island 1 until the endgame, make island 2 a volcanic fortress for the big fight at the end.

 

In the cases you speak of it is true, but it certainly is not true about other mechanics of the game, like which types of weapons to use, and which time period you choose to play in. Though that does simplify a lot of the questioning that has to be done at the beginning of the game.

 

Edited by QuinnVarcoe

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Imagine that each quest grants the same type of rewards,

A item
Exp
Currency
Another Quest (For example has a 100% chance to be created)
A Side Quest (For example has a 35% chance to be created)

As you can see, most quests consist of the same components.

 

That wasn't the point I was trying to make, I was trying to point out if you randomly generate quests there are things to look out for to make sure they are actually completable.  As in because you are using random generation you need to have logic to look out for certain situations or your quests will not be completable. 

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You will have to maintains some random seed data to differentiate the flavorings/options  (make them deterministic for repeats)

 

If its based on questions asked (at the start) like ultima (which were about how you handled things and the game was looking for consisency to your answers to those questions)  then those (multiple) answers still get boiled down to factors which then affect the  mission options.

 

Also keeping track of key activity 'themes'  (like player attacking towns  or THIS town ) would need to be maintained  to cause the different REACTIONS of the local NPCs   (with the corresponding logic in the random generated stuff to adjust the outcomes)

 

 

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