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MSW

yet another RPG idea....

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MSW    151
This is my oldest game idea...goes back to the late 80''s essentualy a single player Final Fantasy style RPG where players control a young girl named Ariel Ariel is one of the very few remaining ''elvish'' characters left in the world..she is about 18 and has never really seen any other of her kind...she is also a slave (as all the ''elvish'' kind are) the game story revolves around two kingdoms...the story takes place in the southern one..the Katsinue Empire...in the story something is makeing the northern kingdom nervius and they have started building thier army along the boarder in expectation of war... So far...pretty medacore, right?...well the game features a very unique ''magic'' system...you see there are these ugly little creatures in the game (I''ll call them lemmings...because they are pretty stupid)...when a character kills a lemming he/she gets magic points and can cast spells, etc...however there is a price for this...once you cast a spell you cannot recover the spent magic points unless you kill another lemming...additionaly the more lemmings you kill the more magic points you recieve/ higher level of magic you can use...BUT for each lemming killed you constantly lose a percentage of HP EVERY DAY and when the character dies they transform into a lemming...goes something like this: lemmings killed---MP recieved---magic casting level---HP lost per day -------1-------------100--------------1-----------------1% -------2-------------200--------------2-----------------2% -------3-------------300--------------3-----------------3% and on till... ------99------------9900-------------99----------------99% compounding the issue is that there are only a limited number of lemmings in the world...and once you kill one...your fate has been chosen (you will eventualy become one) as the game starts Ariel (the player) knows nothing of this, and very little of the history of her race...which goes something like this: 1,000 years ago the ''elvish'' discovered the magic ability of the lemmings and started hunting them down...in doing so they started to take over the world...expanding to the areas where lemmings could be found and in doing so they killed many millions of other kingdoms who tried to stop them...eventualy the ''hp loss'' aspect of lemming magic caught up with the ''elvish'' and they turned into lemmings themselves...the remaining ''elvish'' who hadn''t killed any lemmings were enslaved. basicly most of the rest of the world mocks and fears the few remaining ''elvish'' (Ariel included) they fear the power they could have once a elvish kills a lemming because of the stories of old passed down through the years... Additionaly the emporer of the Katsinue empire is going around and paying lots of gold for captured lemmings...maybe the emporer is killing them to gain the magic power (thus makeing the northern kingdom nervious)...or is there something else going on? The idea for the game is basied on moral conflict rather then strait on physical conflict...should the player (as Ariel) kill a lemming...he/she basicly becomes the savage that the rest of the world thinks the ''elvish'' are...validation of fears, make them hate the ''elvish'' even more...but if the player doesn''t kill any lemmings and generaly plays the character acting opposite of what the world thinks of her kind...she may be able to change thier minds...maybe even enough that ''elvish'' slavery is abolished...once the player kills a lemming, they have made a choice that they can''t retract or otherwise change...thier ultimate fate has been sealed I''ve got a 200 page notebook full of story/gameplay stuff on this game...to much to post here...I just wanted to get the basic idea across to see what you all thought.

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Oluseyi    2103
quote:
Original post by MSW
I''ve got a 200 page notebook full of story/gameplay stuff on this game...to much to post here...I just wanted to get the basic idea across to see what you all thought.

In the future, I would recommend less story and more gameplay. Especially in the opening paragraphs. That way, people like me wont get bored and skip the rest of what you''ve written.

Specifically, I (and everybody else) didn''t need to know about Ariel and her traipsings. In pure "design" terms, all that interests us is how thematic elements interact with gameplay to provide an enjoyable experience. In other words, skip the trivia. Your second-to-last paragraph should have been the first, and most of what preceded should have been omitted entirely.

Just a thought.

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Thanks to Kylotan for the idea!

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Dracoliche    122
Cool idea. Kylotan''s mention of the Wheel of Time triggered a thought - what if, instead of simply losing a percentage of HP from killing lemmings, the character deteriorated in more subtle ways, such as going insane or developing a chronic twitch? Perhaps with enough lemmings dead, characters would start casting spells uncontrollably or being unable to do anything for short periods of time.

Or the character could gradually, embarrassingly, morph into a lemming, losing at various stages her ability to use equipment, language, and eventually control of her body.

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MSW    151
Oluseyi - sorry for boreing you like that...didn''t meen to...just thought I would share my game idea with everyone...an idea that has grown to fill 200 pages...kinda hard to summerize it quickly...sorry

I never read the Wheel of Time books...I actualy drew the idea from how spice is used in Dune (from how important it is...not what it does)...and just added the Vampireish and drug like trappings...I didn''t mention the "endangered species" like aspects of trying to defend the lemmings either

The game would play in realtime...sorta Zelda-ish...no leveling though...players earn ''karma'' points for defeating enemies and doing story specific actions...they can then spend these points as they wish to increase a number of stats/skills...they can only do this when the character goes to bed/stays at a inn/etc..which is also the time the game can be saved (I know ...RPG cliche...but I needed day/night transistions...but didn''t want to do them in real time as it could cause magic users to detererate much to rapidly)...magic, from the players perspective...is sorta like ''bullit time''...players would press and hold a ''cast spell'' key/button which would cause the world to slow down to 1/4 speed...players then would use the directional pad/keys to enter a series of ''runes'' basied on what level of magic they can cast (level 2 = max of 2 runes for example)...they then would release the ''cast spell'' and the spell would take effect basied on the combination and number of runes chosen

All the cites/villages would be given a ''influence'' rateing..as would all the NPC that live there...this way players good/bad status can ''grow'' on the citizens as "getting in good" or "pissing off" a very influencial NPC would have ''trickle down'' effects...

The games takes place in a fantasy ''steampunk'' like world...this allows for two things...first the events in the story that happened 1000 years previous, would really seem to have happended a long time ago...and second it opens up the field a bit for more weapon/armor/gameplay options...the main weapon the player uses is a double edged sword (the same type of thing Darth Maul used in Star Wars: Episode 1...blade at each end, with the grip in the center) this weapon had a number of ''modes''...can be swung around like a sword...can be thrown like a boomerang...when thrown while the owner uses a special magnetic glove it can be controled from a distance sorta like flying a kite...and several other ''modes''

I''ll shut-up now as much of this may have bored some of you to tears

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The idea of the quarter-staff-slash-sword which doubles as a boomerang is very inventive. But I really think there''s something a bit too "cute" about people turning into little creatures.

For people''s interest, other media titles which have the concept of "balance" are:

Death Gate''s necromancers: The more they raised the dead to help them survive in the inhospitable land they found themselves, the more the living would mysteriously die of some kind of sickness.

That old Jim Henson movie "The Dark Crystal": As I recall, two of the races were linked - whenever one died from one race, the same happened in the other.

-------------------
"while you make pretty speeches i''m being cut to shreds" - radiohead

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Kylotan    9988
The necromantic magic from the Death Gate cycle (books by Weis and Hickman, for those who don't know) is another good idea. I like magic to have drawbacks. Preferably insidious ones. In game design terms, it gives you extra Consequences, which means more Decisions, meaning more Game. Woo.

Edited by - Kylotan on January 13, 2002 12:14:32 AM

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vincoof    514
Hey, you''ve got a lot of imagination ! Good work !
I have my 2c, thou. 1c for the story, and 1c for the gameplay.

First of all, I''d like to say to our beloved moderator Oluseyi that this topic isn''t boring at all. At least, it did not bored me. I think such detailed story can take a great part over the gameplay. The credibility of the fights is strongly related to the story, methink.



Well, my 1st c...
quote:
The idea for the game is basied on moral conflict rather then strait on physical conflict...should the player (as Ariel) kill a lemming (...), make the rest of the world hate the ''elvish'' even more...but if the player doesn''t kill any lemmings (...) she may be able to change thier minds

It''s an interesting situation, but the thing is that she''ll always have her ability to get magic from lemmings.
Unless she can seal her power somewhere, the rest of the world will always fear for a return of the "evil" elvish in the future.
You can bet that the credibility of the inhabitants will suffer if you skip this point.
"Urgh, elvish are monsters, they tried to kill us all in the past ! What ? Oh, look at her... she''s so cute ^^ Just let them live freely, they can be our friends !"
Well, of course it won''t be shown exactly like that in the story. But it will be like that in some way.



And the second...
quote:
magic (...) is sorta like ''bullit time''...players would press and hold a ''cast spell'' key/button which would cause the world to slow down to 1/4 speed...players then would use the directional pad/keys to enter a series of ''runes'' basied on what level of magic they can cast (level 2 = max of 2 runes for example)...

This is a very good idea, but it has almost never been used in games for many reasons.
Firstly, this is not very intuitive to cast spells using combinations. Players have to learn spells, which is a bit frustrating at the beginning. And it''s also frustrating to miss a spell just because you tried to do it too fast (wil happen often in a real-time game).
Secondly, you can not have a lot of different runes (especially if you plan on using a gamepad excusively), and then the combinations are very limited, unless... you find another solution
There are a few other artefacts (like cancelling the spells, or casting an unkown spell combination, ...) but I don''t think you have to bother much of the two above.



Well, believe me, I don''t want you to get rid of the points I posted !
They are very good ideas, but I just think they can be improved in some way, and I recommend you thinking more of it before you implement them in the game. And, maybe it''s just me and you don''t need to change at all (some replies could reveal it but at least the story thing really bothers me.

Hope that helps...

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Airhead Zoom    122
Hmm maybe a useless little comment but...
There is some strange 2-player game for UNIX called Spellcast. In the game, you use gestures (with both of your hands) to cast spells. But the tricky part is, that both wizards have a dagger. So while you are making a complicated gesture with your hands, your opponent might simply stick a dagger between your ribs.
Quite a funny game actually. Maybe the gestures system is useful here?
Alas, I have no idea where you can download it (but you''ll probably find it on freshmeat.net)

---
Allow me to clear my head for once...
Stop polluting the air!

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MSW    151
quote:
Original post by vincoof
It''s an interesting situation, but the thing is that she''ll always have her ability to get magic from lemmings.
Unless she can seal her power somewhere, the rest of the world will always fear for a return of the "evil" elvish in the future.
You can bet that the credibility of the inhabitants will suffer if you skip this point.
"Urgh, elvish are monsters, they tried to kill us all in the past ! What ? Oh, look at her... she''s so cute ^^ Just let them live freely, they can be our friends !"
Well, of course it won''t be shown exactly like that in the story. But it will be like that in some way.



Uhh...he he...you arn''t giving me enough credit...I''ll put it this way Ariel could very well become a mytar if played correctly...something that hasn''t really been done much in games

quote:

This is a very good idea, but it has almost never been used in games for many reasons.
Firstly, this is not very intuitive to cast spells using combinations. Players have to learn spells, which is a bit frustrating at the beginning. And it''s also frustrating to miss a spell just because you tried to do it too fast (wil happen often in a real-time game).
Secondly, you can not have a lot of different runes (especially if you plan on using a gamepad excusively), and then the combinations are very limited, unless... you find another solution
There are a few other artefacts (like cancelling the spells, or casting an unkown spell combination, ...) but I don''t think you have to bother much of the two above.



time would slow down to 1/4 normal speed when the player casts a spell...this should be sufficent time to do what has to be done (altho I may slow it down even more)...I just don''t want somebody to cast a 33rd level spell without haveing to worry about getting slashed in the process...selecting the runes would be simple...press up/down would allow you to cycle through the choices (would sorta look like a slot machine...you can see when the next rune is if you press up/down before you do so)...pressing right (once a rune is in place) allows you to select the next rune...pressing left clears the current one and allows you to reselect the previous one...when you are selecting runes the game will tell you what the current combination will cast (tell you what the spell is)...

The story is very tightly integrated to the gameplay (which is why it''s hard to post about gameplay without explaining some of the story)...



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SephirothEX    122
Just a suggestion, instead of using the runes system you could just have the game pause and open a menu to select spells, kind of like the system used in Secret of Mana on the SNES. Just a thought.

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Kylotan    9988
quote:
Original post by Airhead Zoom
Hmm maybe a useless little comment but...
There is some strange 2-player game for UNIX called Spellcast.

The rules for which were actually written by the guy who co-invented MUDs (and who therefore pioneered online gaming).

Here.



Edited by - Kylotan on January 14, 2002 6:25:53 PM

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RabidOcelot    122
MSW: I really like your idea, very non-traditional Here are a few questions/ideas/insane ramblings for you:

1. If killing a "lemming" gives you a one time benefit (magic points) at the cost of permanent character degradation, then the spells available to your character should be substantially more powerful than solutions available through other means. I bring this up because most games try to balance melee and spell casting "classes" (for example, a level one spell and a melee attack performed by a level one character tend to balance out in terms of damage/time/resources). This could work well if you placed "lemmings" at key locations in the story, thus forcing the player to make the choice between an easier victory at the cost of permanent damage or a tougher battle that is more beneficial to the character in the long term.

2. If the main character is an 18 year old slave girl, why would she start killing "lemmings" in the first place? Surely, they won''t attack the player, as that would be rather annoying (since killing them is an important decision). If she''s never seen another of her kind, how does she know that they give her magic? Wouldn''t those enslaving her seek to hide this knowledge? Is it some biological elvin urge to kill these things? Are elves evil, or did their society just get too greedy? There''s lots of good stuff to explore here.

I think that most characters that value morality would be very much opposed to taking the life of some poor creature for personal gain. I see two possible solutions for this.

The first is that the player is directly responsible for the morality of their character (similar to Black & White, I suppose). A player who wants an evil character would have no qualms with killing the "lemmings" and driving their character towards evil/insanity/whatever. Of course, this is intrinsically opposed to having a concrete story line (i.e. Final Fantasy type RPGs).

The second idea I had was that instead of killing the "lemmings", perhaps the character would merely absorb their life-force. You could work this into the story by saying the magic that flows through these creatures, binding them to the physical plane, causes them great anguish. Transferring this power to the player would allow the "lemmings" to move on to the afterlife.

Imagine, if you will, a small creature, it''s body an amalgamation of misshapen limbs, wrapped tightly in a sickly gray skin mottled with un-healable wounds. As you approach, the creature seems torn between keeping its large, milky eyes focused on you and shielding them from the blinding light of your torch. Even this simple task proves nearly impossible as it spasms violently, the energy it once wielded working to destroy both mind and flesh alike. After several moments of timid indecision, perhaps fighting its instinct to run (or realizing the futility therein), the creature speaks, its words alternating between incoherent babbling and softly pleading... "Help me".

Now you have a pretty cool moral dilemma, do you help these creatures at the cost of your own damnation? Do they deserve what''s happening to them because of their previous actions? I like it.

Maybe you could even incorporate both ideas, thus giving the player a non violent means to counter act the Katsinue''s processing the creatures into magic paste (or whatever it is they do...). Perhaps convincing the "lemmings" to give you their power results in non-permanent damage?

3. The name Ariel makes me think of a certain Disney cartoon .

4. Everyone seems to be trying to find a way to incorporate "bullet time" into an RPG. I think it should be possible to find a more intriguing magic system, especially considering your source material. Then again, it''s your game, and if you already have it worked out, go for it!

Now that I''ve successfully bored Oluseyi to tears (j/k), my work here is done


Game: The Adventure (tm).
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MSW    151
Thanks for the replies folks

Much of what you guys have written about is already "in the game"...slowly deteriorateing character who use magic...magic being very powerful, etc..

I call them lemmings because I don''t really have a name for them yet (even after all these years the game has no title either)...these are small, mishapen, ugly, and smelly creatures...they don''t talk only make grunt like noises...they are immortal except at the hands of another...they don''t eat/drink/sleep or do much of anything...they are also child like and curious of thier surroundings yet quite timid...they cannot use the magic that flows through them as they are mearly the vessal by which it is transfered...they are also pretty stupid...and wonder around aimlessly...

the ''ultimate'' spell is a ''magic abolishment'' one that returns the world to a normal "no lemmings or magic" state

The game idea was inspired by real life...specificly how people fell trapped in inner city ghettos with little hope of escapeing thier unfortunate situation...in this way lemmings are like drugs...The game is ment to set-up a situation where the player is given every reason to take the easy yet wrong path out of thier situation...sort of asking the player to play the game in a truer roleplaying manner by asking "what should you do, if in her shoes?"

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That''s all well and good, but you still need some kind of reason for the creatures'' apparent possesion of this power.

Were they imbued with the power by an ancient people who needed a lifeform to contain their stored magick?

This next suggestion is decidedly morbid... You''ve mentioned that using the power is damaging. Perhaps each and every creature used to be an Elvish. Elvish might be immortal so the earliest Elvish got their power elsewhere, but as it destroyed them and turned them into "lemmings" (kind of like Gollum I suppose), their descendents learned they could steal the power by killing the sad remains of their ancestors.
The good side to this is there is hope! Our brave heroine can find the secret to rid the world of magick once and for all, which may even turn all the "lemmings" back into Elvish.

Trevize

--------------
"people living their lives for you on tv
they say they''re better than you and ... you agree" - Jewel

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CaptainJester    523
I like the idea with the lemmings, except I don''t like the idea of only a one time benefit, especially for the prive you are paying to get that benefit. How about this:

lemmings killed---MP recieved---magic casting level---HP lost per recharge
-------1-------------20---------------1-----------------1%
-------2-------------40---------------2-----------------2%
-------3-------------60---------------3-----------------3%
and on till...
------99------------1980-------------99----------------99%

So instead of losing hit points per day, you use your magic until your mana runs to 0, at which point it recycles back up to full, but at the cost of the HP loss. This way it is even more of a moral dilema, because you could use all your power several times a day and accelerate your degredation, or you could refrain from using the magic at all and extend your life. Also to keep someone from never turning into a lemming, you could add a drain factor to the mana, like you lose 1 mana every 12 hours, so the degredation will eventually happen, no matter what.

I just feel that I would never use magic if it was limited to a one time use of the received power. If it could recharge at some rate, or be used then require rest to regain, I would be more likley to consider it. But if I played your game and knew it was a one time shot, I would probably never use it.

---
Make it work.
Make it fast.

"Commmmpuuuuterrrr.." --Scotty Star Trek IV:The Voyage Home

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