• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

328 Neutral

About Randel

  • Rank
  1. I don't think I ever really used the 'yield' feature in Oblivion and in Skyrim I know I had problems un-equiping my weapons. What if there was an equipable item like a white flag you could use that basically said "I yield" to everyone around you? It takes up both hands so it's like unequiping your weapons. Different flags could also communicate things like "I surrender", "I want to talk", "I want to negotiate terms to cross your lands", or "If you attack me, the guy who sent me will bring his army to murder your whole family".
  2. I would imagine that parlay would be easiest either before fighting breaks out, or after it ends. In the first case, bandits could approach, say "your money or your life" and the player can attempt to speak then. Otherwise, a fight breaks out and the player can use nonlethal attacks (sleep spells, stunning, paralysis, etc) and once an enemy recovers from that there is a window of time where dialog is possible. To end a fight with speech likely requires using something to temporarily get everyone into that state of letting you talk. Basically, knock everyone out with disabling spells, let them wake up, then talk to them to get them to stand down. Oe perhaps firing off a powerful spell "just to get their attention" will shock them enough to gain you a moment to start dialog.
  3.   Thank you! Glad to help. I admit that my only real experience with online FPS games is with Team Fortress 2 and Planetside 2 (both free to play) with other FPS experience from the Bioshock and Fallout games. So my thoughts will likely be more cartoony or "fantastic" than something like Call of Duty (I think, never played it).     Anyway, to elaborate on my rough idea, I think there could be several possible "factions" in this hypothetical game.   Pirates - Basically modern day thugs and hackers. Make use of shotguns and other salvaged/modern weapons and the more technically inclined could set up the turrets and stuff. Not proffesional soldiers but creative and willing to scrounge for stuff and use tech. Occasional nerd lingo seeps in and jokingly act like naval pirates.   Ninjas - Professional killers who are more serious. May be more stealthy than pirates and use better weaponry, but could have trouble scavenging ammofor their better guns (these ninja do use guns, at the very least things like sniper rifles and silenced pistols). They also have melee weapons (potentially silver coated blades later on).     Werewolves - Humans mutated into werecreatures by a curse. Standard grunts are like your typical zombie mooks but maybe faster and have nasty claws and teeth. All have a weakness to silver and more powerful ones heal in the presemce of moonlight. Later on you can find things like weretigers or the like. To add dificulty, werewolf howls attract their allies and the smell of blood frenzy them. Perhaps a "big boss" werewolf could look perfectly human with a coyote head like the Egyptian god Anubis (god of death, I think). Anubis gets something weird like the power to ressurect fallen werewolves or grant them power (as if he constantly radiats moonlight). Killing anubis may or may not end thw Werewolf apocolypse.     Frankenstein Monsters (or Flesh golems, or The Revived) - A blending of mad science and magical necromancy. These golems are made up of stitched together body parts, treated with chemicals (which may include some weird ingrediant like werewolf blood) and animated with electricity. They are moving glaciers, no stealth, no weak spots (shooting them in the headjust could be completly useless if their brains were repositioned to be in their chest or something) they are just a wall of muscle moving to achieve their goal. They kill all their enemies and bring the corpses to some place to make more golems. More powerful golems may encorporate pieces from defeated werewolves. They aren't vulnerable to anything in particular (perhaps fire freaks out the weaker ones) but they do require electricity to heal (like how werewolves need moonlight but moreso). Their "boss" could be some mad scientist who seeks to triumph against Death (Anubis). His golems were at first simply failed experiments to ressurect the dead, but when the werewolves appeared he used them as soldiers to defeat the werewolves (and any humans who get in his way).   For laughs, his very first attempts at ressurecting the dead resulted in something like mummies. Very humanlike golems (possibly with full intelligence) who are perpetually wrapped in bandages since the revival process didn't heal their surgical scars (actually, given the Anubis/werewolf thing it could make sense).   The ninjas and pirates don't necessarily have to be seperate teams (at first). You could have one faction of "survivors" where the pirates are like the engineer and light assault class while ninjas are the snipers, melee class, and maybe the guy with the rocket launcher (since rockets are something only a professional should have access to).   I suppose it would be funny to have vampires show up as enemies at some point.... only to have the pirates, ninja, werewolves, mummies, frankenstein monsters, and possibly robots (from the engineer class) give them a long hard look before ripping them apart.   I have no idea if this would make a good game or plot or whatever, but I figure if you can make a decend shooter game, and maybe toss the labels around (no need to make it cartoony or obvious, modern day pirates and ninja assassins probably look alot like your standard thugs and mercs) but the sheer idea of a shooter with ninja, pirate, werewolf, mummy, frankenstein monsters should help your game stand out from the standard zombie shootemups.
  4. Minor suggestion: I would suggest trying to mix up the standard zombie survival shooter thing. Try something like... werewolves or vampires or perhaps some kind of army of frankenstein golem/zombies. The zombie apocolypse thing has been done and I would venture to say that you could do better by trying to add your own spin to it.   Lets say you use werewolves. For your first demo you could just have the enemies be really hairy humanlike guys who creep around with sharp teeth and claws. They are like "zombies" but you get the feeling they have a reason they don't need weapons. Then later you establish that these guys heal or get stronger in the moonlight, so your characters would do better to fight them indoors in dark spooky corridors. If they fight the werewolves indoors, its claustrophobic and scary but if they fight outside the wolves get extra tough and heal their injuries quickly.   Then players figure out that silver kills these guys like nobodies business so they have to loot jewelry stores and melt down the silver to make bullets. Then when they kill a wolf, dig through their insides in an attempt to salvage the silver. If there is an economy among the survivors, you can bet that silver fetches a high price,etc.   Oh, and make wolf howling be terrifying. Alert a woff to your presence and he'll call up his buddies to make things miserble for you. Have random howls in the background to let the player know they are still out there.   That's just what you can put in the demo. If you add stuff, you could include increasingly powerful werewolf forms, new weremonsters, and maybe some kind of thematic point about how the human survivors of the disaster can be just as monsterous as the half-animal things they are fighting.       Or the Frankenstein monsters could be like zombies but more militant and powered by electricity... you see them kill people and drag the bodies back to some lab to mix them with chemicals and renimate them with electricity. Missions could be made to destroy generators that power the monsters (or try to capture them for human use.     Oh, and the protagonists are pirates. They download MP3s, carry guns and swords, and are prone to looting (like pretty much all post-apocolyptic survivor protagonists do).     Just saying that you can think of some simple ways to set your work apart from others to increase your chance of success. Don't have to completly change things, just add a different perspective or an interesting feature.
  5. Check out the flash game Jacksmith if you haven't already. It should give you some ideas. Do you intend to have your blades break or dull with use? I think having the material determine the weapons durability would be the most intuitive. Damage would likely be a function of how sharp or well balanced the weapon is (with that decreasing with use depending on durability). Perhaps you could add a way to re-forge broken or outdated weapons so players can stick with one "favorite weapon" and improve it over the course of the game. Or, they start with an iron sword, then can reforge it to steel, silver, adamantine, etc until they end up with their Infinity+1 blade at the end... but it's technicaly still the sword they started out with.
  6. What if your farm itself attracted monsters to battle/train? Like, if your farm is full of weeds, you get bug monsters. If its full of plain vegetables, it attracts rabbits. Or if you've got lots of expensive cash crops, it attracts goblins or bandit monsters out to steal your stuff.
  7. Not sure if these have been mentioned but here goes: 1. Sacred Flame of Hospitality - Basically a campfire or a lit torch, the flame is infused with holy magic and will repel or attack any hostile beings in its radius. Useful for plopping down in an area so you can rest. Weak enemies are repelled, medium enemies are prevented from attacking, powerful enemies who stay hostile are attacked by the flame (which is extinguished in the process). The sacred flame might even attack or inhibit the player when they are in the radius. The sacred hospitality flame basically enforces that an area is safe from hostility. Anyone who enters either can't attack or gets burned if they cause trouble. May also repel toxins, cold, disease, or darkness. 2. Flame Bellows - Air based magic, sends a burst of hyper-oxygenated air which heavily damages any enemy currently on fire. 3. Overcook Food - A cooking spell that instantly converts any raw food item into "edible charcoal" or some other foodlike item.
  8. Just have to say that for awhile I've been trying to think of how an "enslave" option would work in an RPG. Basically, like how in most RPGs the main character tends to cut a bloody path across the country and kill every enemy they meet. I've been thinking of how one could enslave enemies (and maybe get more money/use out of them). For the captured cavemen, what if you had some dedicated slave traders working with you? Instead of raping or eating your captives, they get dragged back to camp and put in cages. Then the slaver does his thing and later the player can go there to buy slaves or mates or "meat" from all the captives who didn't accept their new status as slaves. Conversly, depending on how "civilized" the slave dealing is and how the enemy faction relationships are, enemy cavemen could demand your surrender instead of killing you. Surrendering would then place you at the mercy of your enemy who could then abuse you or sell you to slavers. So, my recommendation would be to separate the combat from the rape, torture, or cannibalism. Captives get sent off to some slaver den where all the nasty stuff happens and you just buy the slaves, prostitutes, or meat at the end. If you want torture, maybe get a "job" at the slaver den and try to break uncooperative captives. Then, depending on your treatment of captives and slaves, that could change the enemy willingness to enslave rather than kill you. At lower civilization levels, the enemy will always try to kill, rape, or eat you and surrendering just gets you killed. At higher civilization levels, surrendering is more or less like getting sent to jail and you might have to do a bunch of work, endure indignity, escape, or pay off a big debt to earn your freedom. Of course, there is no guarantee everyone will agree on the "don't kill on sight" plan.
  9. I can think of a few ways this could work: 1. These shops have some extra complementary service - like a healing fountain, repairing facility, or haircutter. Or a tray of 'free samples' like healing potions or food items. The cost of entrance goes towards accesing these extra features in addition to the shop itself. 2. Black market shops - If you are trying to sell a bunch of stolen goods (or just things you can't normally sell) you might have to pay a fee "Ta prove you ain't just wastin' ma time.". The money you would gain from selling the items offsets the entrance fee. 3. Similarly, if shops normally have a limit on how much money they have on hand and you're trying to unload junk, certain wealthy shop owners dedicated to buying stuff might require an entrance fee but in exchange they have a much higher amount of gold on hand so it should be possible to unload all your vendor trash on them. 4. In addition to the above, they could have an extra special deal on certain staple items like healing potions, ammo, or whatnot. Lets say your average shop buys items at 50% list price and sells at 200%. Special shops buy certain items at 75% and sell at 150%. However, if you pay the entrance fee, and sell enough vendor trash that the shop owner runs out of money then he changes tactics. "Wow, you've got alot of stuff to sell. Tell ya what, I'll give you a special deal". At that point, he buys and sells health potions (and other staple items) at the same price ( effectivly treating those items as another type of money) he might also open up a list of special items or powerful/expensive equipment. Since the only way to open up these special deals is to empty the shop owners funds, the player is guaranteed to have a decent amount of money so once they achieve this they can either buy up a massive number of healing potions/items or get the rare piece of equipment. 5. Paying the fee upgrades the shop - Probably doesn't make sense in an economic sense but maybe every time you pay the fee, the shop upgrades a bit, adding features or better selection or funds. Perhaps this would be better as an investment system where every time you buy stock in the shop you can make a suggestion like "get more potions", "more money to buy items with", "install an alchemy set", or "better prices for animal furs". This would better suit it if these are one or two shops the player visits on a regular basis so upgrading them is beneficial. 6. Otherwise, I suppose if it's a one-time investment (like buying a membership), it could be a way to unlock new areas in a way. Like, the shops control the respawn areas, teleportation gates, save areas or the like and paying the fee unlocks them. 7. There is a way to eliminate the entry fee. Either paying a larger membership fee, fullfilling some condition (like sell/buy 1000 gold worth of stuff), or defeat the boss monster of the area. This encourages the player to complete this objective in the area. Such as, if defeating the boss eliminates the fee, that shows how your actions are earning you fame. 8. Fluff to show how desperate the situation is, or how important the NPC is. Say you enter a camp or village with injured people and the town healer is busy helping people. You [i]can[/i] ask to buy stuff, but she demands a fee to open her "shop" and makes it clear the money will be going to getting more medicine. She's running a hospital, not a market stall. Similarly, while the royal wizard can teach you spells, you have to pay money upfront to show you're serious and to compensate for distracting him from his regular duties. (in both cases, fulfilling some objective may remove the fee out of respect for your actions). 9. The "shop" in question isn't meant to be a place you regularly go to. More like a club or special event. Put all the strippers, movies, booze, or mini-games in this location for when players want to take a rest from the main adventure and goof off. Maybe each town has a "inn" and a "tavern". The inn is meant for visitors and just has the beds, bar, and quest board that wandering adventures use. The tavern is meant for the locals and has better booze, conversations, and games or whatever. If you're new to town you have to pay the fee to get in (it keeps the riff-raff out). If your fame in the area becomes great enough, or you buy a house in that town, then you can enter without having to pay the fee. In-universe, the entry fee is the locals way of keeping undesirables out of the "safe zones" without necessarily barring the player from that area. Could even be paired with a karma meter of sorts. If your character looks suspicious, the guy guarding the door can increase the fee while if you look more respectable it can be decreased or waived accordingly.
  10. Abberent Flesh - In the DnD Eberron setting, there are symbiots made by the Daelkyr that function as weapons or armor. So you can have evil fleshcrafting enemies who wear things like armor, robes, helmets and whatever, but they are actually creatures (or rather living constructs of chitin and bone). Said armor can have special abilities... like a fleshy robe covered in eyes that lets you see through illusion or detect life or gauntlets with spider legs who provide a poison attack in melee or prevent you from getting disarmed. Liquid Metal - Similar to silver armor, this armor is made of an extra shiny liquid metal supported by magic. Very resistant to magic (reflective?) and possibly werewolves (poisons any enemy that bites you). Depending on how 'skimpy' you want things, the metal could seem literally painted on. Bandages - For mummies or injured people. Bandages provide next to no physical protection but are soaked in medicines and magic. Bandages mostly carry healing bonuses or prevent disease or limbs from getting crippled. Expect enemies/characters like injured people wearing them. Or mummies who are actually zombies or undead people with bandage armor (destroying or looting their armor deprives the healing bonus and they die much faster).
  11.   I know in Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition, during each turn a player can take a standard, move, and minor action (plus immediate actions for certain spells). Minor actions tend to be pretty weak but are good for minor buffs or utility spells. You could check out 4th edition rules for ideas.   Or, the spells could be 'stored' for later use after casting? Say, it takes 5 seconds or so to cast the spell, but once cast it gets stored where it can be activated later. Each character can only have so many stored spells at a time and casting the spell is generally too long to do during combat. So, before combat each character can prepare some powers to use during a fight and activate them quickly, and in an emergency they can 'recharge' those abilities by preparing them during combat.   Perhaps how the noncombatant characters work? At the start they use up their stored abilities to boost the fighters and after that they default to walking around to avoid combat while casting their utility spells. Characters can walk and cast "preparation" spells at the same time. The noncombatant types stay out of the way but the players can see that they are charging their spells so they are helping out.   Battles with a noncombatant ally thus has the first few rounds where they guy tosses out five of six boosting spells in quick order (perhaps twice in a round because they were prepared beforehand) once he runs out of prepared spells he stayss back and prepares more (each casting takes multiple rounds) and then casts those as soon as possible.   Thus, Utility Preparation abilities are sort of like using items in alot of rpgs, they are decently powerful and take a short amount of time to use, but you have to have them on hand to use. The Preparation abilities however don't cost money and can be restored in short order (so you don't feel the need to horde them). Each character can only have so many of these abilities stored up at a time though and the number of them stored can increase as you level up (or maybe invest in a certain skill tree).   So, most characters will invest a fw points to get Preparation slots that they can use quickly in combat (things like healing, power boosting, or mana recharge being the best). However, more dedicated support guys (like the above noncombatants) invest alot into these preparation slots so they can fill them up outside of combat (or during combat by hiding) and then unleash a lot of them rapidly when needed. I'm immediatly reminded of the Item Caddy trope on TvTropes. Basically a character whos special ability is being able to use and toss out items for the team (read it because of one guest character in Final Fantasy XII has an unlimited number of Hi-Potions he dispenses liberally in combat). With Preparation abilities, the characters would be like that but effectivly have an unlimited number of "items" to use so long as they have time to prepare and slots to use.   Rogues could prepare things like smoke bombs, healers prepare healing salves or spells, fighters use things that boost their combat prowess, etc. The key is getting Preparation Slots, then the abilities to use in them, and setting them up to auto-recharge before combat or prepare them in combat if need be. Using them is quick and doesn't slow down combat.
  12. What about adding some kind of "bait" spell or item effects?   Like say a mage could plop down a rune that slowly heals anyone on that spot, be they enemy or ally (while damaging undead if healing magic does that). Naturally, enemy units low on health will want to stand on that rune to heal up, but you could place it withing range of all your own guys or have traps in place to get them when they take the bait.   Or have a spell that can create food or drink items in and out of battle (ideally, they stock up on food out of battle and use it for cheap healing or energy in battle). The same items could be dropped (and poisoned) to distract wild animals.     This could potentially be used for "commoner" characters, or just those who aren't supposed to be actual combatants but have at most some buff/debuff abilities to help out with. I wonder if adding some support abilities to noncombatants could make them more interesting to players during things like escort quests or guarding them during defense missions. Like say a merchant being escorted can give you a temporary speed boost, a king boosts your attack during a battle, or some lovable urchin taunts the enemys to lower their accuracy.
  13. Hmm... the goal is to collect undead minions and the like, right? What if you have it so that your minions heal up depending on how many "leftovers" remain from the enemies you fought? Like, if you destroy an enemy skeleton in 1 hit then (theoretically) more of the bones would be intact than if it took you a bunch of hits. The more "intact bones" remain after a battle, the faster your own minions can heal up after each battle (by basically cannibalizing the parts of your enemy).   Of course, it might be best to abstract it, maybe through a score system. You get "necromancer points" for defeating your enemies quickly and without damaging them too much. So having skeleton warriors quickly stab your enemies leaves intact corpses and thus wins more points, as opposed to something like blowing them up, setting them on fire, or using special "holy" magic or whatever.   So, in addition to getting experience for defeating your enemy, you also gain necromancer points for defeating them in a certain manner. If you play smart and win alot of necro points, then at the end of combat your minions automatically heal a large amount of points.   Some players might fight using lots of explosions, fire, or smashing attacks that defeats their enemies quickly but destroys their remains. Others use "safer" methods that might be harder but leave more bones behind and as a result they let their minions heal up more after each fight. In addition, recruiting enemy units to your side obviously doesn't leave any remains behind (since they aren't destroyed) so there could be some strategy involved with recruiting monsters. Do you recruit lots of enemy undead you find, or destroy them to repair your undead army? Actually, there could be a mechanic for sacrificing some minions to get more "bones" to repair your other minions... perhaps there are some monsters who are uninspiring in combat but have the notable feature of leaving behind lots of bones when sacrificed? Keep a few of them on your side mostly to store bones and then sacrifice them in or out of combat for a quick way to heal up your more important monsters.
  14. Not sure about zombie apocolypse simulators, but I've recently been playing Planetside 2 and I really like it, particularly for the faction involvment. Basically, in PS2 there are three empires waging war over territory and that territory gives resources to the controlling empire. Players each choose an empire and can play classes (switching between them as needed) to help support their team. In addition to things like Heavy Infantry, Light Infantry, and Infiltrators (basically snipers with cloaking and hacking ability) there are also Combat Medics and Engineers. I particularly enjoy playing Engineer because it is the class that repairs vehicles, base turrets, and generators to help defend bases. As an Engineer, you can get a decent amount of experience just by going through a decent size base and fixing up all the busted equipment after your team secures it. How does this apply to a zombie apocolypse? Well, suppose there are several factions of survivors in the world and they all want to take control of the surviving infrastructure. Say: Loyalists - They believe that just because the world is infested with zombies doesn't mean their nation is gone. They work to enforce the laws the old world had, restore it to its old glory, and deal with any traitors or looters they see. The land and buildings were once property of the governement or its citizens and since they are carrying on its legacy then naturally they should have it all. Raiders - This faction was fed up with the old government and its rules and like this zombie-filled environment just fine, thank you very much. Oh the zombies are dangerous, no argument there, but the Raiders are more dangerous! Raider government is ruled by the strong and the weak either get looted or make themselves useful. They will take anything they want. Intellectuals - These guys saw the problems of the old world and wish to improve upon it, with the power of SCIENCE and LOGIC! They know all about history and science and socioeconomic theory so they will be much better suited to creating a perfect world from the ruins of the old one, and theirs will be efficient and fair and everything... now all they need to do is deal with these zombies, rival factions, and collapsed infrastructure. Basically, three factions with their distinct flavors and these groups all want to take control of the area. Players may start out on a team or be nonaligned. Once they play, they can either be more assault based to take out the zombies, or loot buildings, or maybe work as farmers, engineers, or medics to support the other members of their team. Depending on how resources are made, or rather the effectivness of farming vs looting buildings there could be players who would rather play some sort of in-game farming simulator to get resources for their faction. Resources that could be looted by their rival factions. Or maybe there are various 'farms' set up around the map and players can work them regardless of allegiance, but the farm itself can be contested through some sort of capture the flag game. Basically, farmers work the field and the factions fight to control one building where the food is stored. Ideally, the farm can be taken over by anybody with the workers just doing their job and paying tribute to whoever is their new overlord this week. So long as said overlord keeps the zombies at bay, they don't mind (though life might such under the Raider faction). Actually, the farmers would most likely be NPCs or invisible while players just help to boost the farms productivity. Of course, along with the three main factions, the zombies are a constant threat in and of themselves and there can be plenty of unaligned players doing stuff. Some players might find out ways to control the zombies and maybe lead hoards of them into enemy bases to stage assaults, or lead them into traps to help their faction clear out an area. Anyway, just tossing out that after a zombie apocalypse it would make sense for groups to form for mutual protection and to control the remaining resources.
  15. Right now, I'm playing Skyrim with the Live Another Life mod which basically lets you start out in various locations with different equipment. You can use it to start the game as a hunter in the woods, as a Vigilent of Stendar (basically a cleric type that hunts demons and undead), or numerous other options. Since it's a mod, it doesn't do more than just plop you in different parts of the world with equipment relevant to your chosen path but it's really nice for a sandbox game in that I can quickly start out new games in different locations. I mention this because if you are going for more of a sandbox type game with a maximum of player choice then it might be worth it to have the beginning of the game let you start in various locations with a choice of starter equipment and then let the player build themselves up from there. I'm kind of guilty of starting new games just to test things out with new characters and having to redo the games introduction all those times gets old. So, maybe the player can quickly start a new game by deciding appearance (as much as the game allows), then starting equipment, then choose one of several starting locations or rough backstories. Something like "homeless thief in Liarsburg" or "Merchants son in Honestown" or something like that. Then as they explore the world they can make choices that give them various perks or background information. As for making a character distinctly good or evil (or maybe using some other system like "maintains the balance of nature", "kills all non-humans", or "advances SCIENCE!") maybe have something like the moods from Sims 3? Basically, the character has some sort of morale stat which when full gives bonuses to things like XP generation, strength, health or whatever. But if the morale bar is low then it gives negative effects. The player can then choose to take certain traits which boost the characters morale depending on how they act. Pacifist characters might have a trait that boosts their morale when they heal or disarm conflicts peacefully (like say using healing spells, calming magic, or diplomacy), while a violent character gets boosts whenever they kill someone. That could be split into things like: Boisterous Bruiser: Bonus to morale when defeating an enemy in fair combat, decrease when forced to flee or win using magic. Sadist: Bonus to morale when killing an enemy who is begging for mercy, decrease when you suffer critical damage. Miser: Bonus when you make money, decrease when you spend or lose money. Things like that. I'm thinking the Morale bar would have a range between -100 and 100 and it gradually moves toward zero as time passes (basically, even if you get a negative morale at some point then you'll gradually get better even if you don't do anything while the same applies to when you fill it up). It could be customized in various ways, like some characters might get increased health regeneration, magic regeneration, or maybe stealth skills depending on how good they feel with a corresponding decrease in effectviness if their morale plummets. Other things like Depression or Egomania could alter the morale meters default value (people suffering from depression have their morale bar naturally move toward -10 instead of zero while egomaniacs have it move to +10). Actually, this idea reminds me of how things work in the World of Darkness setting. Basically each character has a few defining traits from the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Heavenly Virtues. The player gets bonuses from excercising either their virtues or their vices (that is, everyone has both virtues and vices), virtues are harder to pull off but restore a persons willpower to the full while excercising a vice gives a smaller bonus. Basically, every player is going to have their own backstory for their character (or none at all) so trying to reflect every detail in a characters appearance or place in the game world could be difficult. If there is a way to customize how the character [i]reacts to themself and their own actions[/i] it could do something to give that person character. If the player gives their character a heroic trait and finds their new character gets morally devastated every time he is forced to go around killing innocents it could do something. I suppose it could be likened to those survival game where realism is added by having the character need to eat, drink and sleep, except in this case they need to perform actions that reflect their morality and/or worldview.