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About Densoro

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  1. XD I loved Ico, but it's a totally different genre. Thanks for the detailed response though! I found that weapon conservation in Silent Hill 3 really added to the tension too, what with the constant sense of "God there's so many damn hell hounds here! If I could kill just one--! But wait, I might need that ammo later...unless they maul me before I can get any further. Crap..." I'd considered using a clean interface for my game, so if I add weapon durability without a convenient meter to measure it by, would that have the same effect? That way, you can still tell that your trusty kitchen knife is about to fail you, but it's all you've got so you hang onto it and try to get through with as few fights as possible, because you can't really be 100% certain when it's going to snap. Good call with the permanence thing though -- I hadn't thought about that. It would really highlight another theme of the game, where the only thing you do get to feel familiar toward is a bird carcass you're carrying around in your pocket. It makes so much sense: if I keep everything else in a constant state of flux, then that would make the dead bird even more of an emotional anchor for the player, huh? As far as alien enemies, the first monsters I've thought of are clothes draped in the form of a person. They're hollow, but if you damage them then they bleed profusely. If they spot you, they shriek furiously and run hell-for-leather toward you, beating you 100 times a minute while ranting incoherently-- and then suddenly stop when you're within an inch of your life. They forget you exist, fall quiet, and stroll around listlessly. Left with your wounds, you have to hobble away.
  2. I've got an idea for a horror game where your character isn't limited by clunky tank controls and awful combat, because I find that limits the player's ability to take the game seriously enough to be scared. Once you start yelling at the screen to stop being such a pansy, all the thrills are kinda gone. Rather, the horror will come from you being stupidly outmatched, because no matter how athletic one human being may be, we're still squishy and breakable. The problem is, I'm not 100% sure how to balance this so that it remains scary. There won't be any crazy Devil May Cry combos, no easy Zelda-style defenses, but you will be able to sprint, jump, strafe and pick up melee weapons. What can I do to stop that from becoming Ico?
  3. Densoro

    Unique vs Challenging

    At the moment, I prefer uniqueness, just 'cause so many of the genres we're familiar with are kinda generic now. The three-member party RPG is so standard that half the time you don't even need to pay attention to the tutorial, and ditto the shooter, the hack-n-slash down to button layout. Games used to take more risks to emphasize their theme; Vagrant Story went for a tactical approach targeting different limbs that had different resistances to different damage types with weapons you could customize blade, hilt and handle, capped with timing-based attacks like Paper Mario and an adrenaline system to balance risk/reward. It was some crazy-deep stuff .-. And it suited the character -- a cool-headed sellsword from a group that prides themselves on tactical knowhow. Everything matched thematically, and while the convoluted crafting system and bizarre real-time-turn-based combat likely turned away thousands of players, the ones who stayed on for the ride got a consistent, literary experience. Difficulty was simply a bi-product.
  4. Densoro

    Alternate routes

    A lot of triple-A games these days are trying to incorporate personal choice, with excellent examples like Mass Effect and Deus Ex...and not-so-good ones like Fable. But meanwhile in Type-Moon visual novels, you get games where one single choice puts you on a totally different plot-rail. Even if you ignore the abundance of hyperviolent 'bad end' paths, you still have totally separate plotlines with different villains and themes. Where Mass Effect was always headed toward an ultimate showdown with the Reapers, Fate/Stay Night can make your greatest enemy Gilgamesh, Archer, or the Holy Grail itself all depending on what you do. D'you think more traditional gaming can take after visual novels in this regard? Where rather than amazing writing only slightly changed by your choices like Bioware gives us, or being so impersonal that you can kill everybody or nobody (Way of the Samurai), you have grand, artistic, emotional paths waiting at the end of each choice, all with full production values and character development. Is that asking too much? And more importantly, would you be interested? =P
  5. Densoro

    What makes RPGs good or bad?

    Personally, what can make or break a game for me is how much I feel like my character fits their role. So many games say "Oh my god this dude is the best fighter ever, respect!" but his amazing skill is just spinning around until people fall over dead. The master swordsman archetype is so heavily ingrained in fiction that people feel they can skimp on showing what makes one, but that just makes the title -- and the character as a result -- empty. It's gotten to the point where fistfights end with one hit while you need to hit a dude with a sword 70 times to make him fall over, which is exactly opposite of how it works. Maybe that was interesting at one point when somebody used it perfectly in their story, but now it's the go-to cliche that leaves everything flat and unexplained. The one saving grace of Legend of Legaia -- a game with an otherwise laughable plot -- was the combat system. Even though you were putting on the usual (incredibly well-designed) weapons and armor, your fight command was a series of brutal combos designed to flow together wonderfully, carrying impact and making you feel that you really were playing a feral child, a martial arts student, and a Buddhist monk. Similarly, Resonance of Fate's Hero Gauge-based battle system actually makes you feel like one of those important people that Storm Troopers can't draw bead on. It literally quantifies plot armor and lets you be an action hero while still rewarding tactical thinking. Compare this to the tidal wave of games about a funny-haired kid with a sword most bodybuilders couldn't use, beating up giant robots. So many RPGs flop because there's just no personality, no attachment to your character, your role.
  6. Hm, fair enough xD While part of me agrees with the 'one town' mindset, it has to be done just right. Skyward Sword (though not an RPG exactly) had one town too, and it was a boring, saccharine place floating above the 'designated questing areas.' They established all these staples of aerial civilization...and then made the entirety of that civilization one rock covered in 20 people. Lotta good that bird does the average citizen when the only place they'll fly to is the saloon that could've just as easily been built on the mainland. Some MMOs lately have just one town too, that just functions as a mission hub. Vindictus and Spiral Knights are great games, but their single token town seems kind of boring. I'd just as soon set up camp in the wilderness and have to take turns standing watch xD So how did Diablo do the 'one town' thing right?
  7. Densoro

    Always moving in platform games

    Gotta be careful with on-rails touchscreen games where you have to split swipes between yourself and the enemy. I tried out Lunar Knights a little while ago, and they have sections like Kingdom Hearts' gummy ships. The problem is that you can't dodge incoming bullets and retaliate at the same time, and sometimes the fat ass of your ship will block the target you mean to click on -- meaning that it's easier to shoot at a funky angle than to shoot somebody who's literally right in front of you >_> Ideally I'd have some sort of jump button totally separate from the touch-to-fire system to make it kinda like a Canabalt with guns. If not, you'll have to very carefully balance your game to make sure the switch between offense and defense/evasion is practical. You don't want enemies who fill the screen with projectiles you have to dodge, then force you to shoot them to make them stop firing in the middle of their salvo. Because offense or defense will take a hit.
  8. My biggest problem with safe havens in RPGs is usually just that they exist xD You're being told that an ancient soul-sucking evil has been unleashed on the world to cause chaos wherever it turns up, so why are villages so close to ground zero still hosting carnivals? It really kinda ruins the tension in an effort to make the game 'varied' and 'relatable' instead of focusing the theme. Parasite Eve did things pretty well, the way I figure it. Like a survival-horror game, most of New York was left desolate, evacuated but for a few scattered survivors and the corpses of the less fortunate trying to kill them. There wasn't anything as handy as a shop owned by some plot-armored shopkeeper. You took what you could find, and when you collapsed one night only to awake near an abandoned gun shop, you went to town looting everything in sight. The police station you were deployed from seemed safe for a while, but that sense of security was shattered when Eve broke in and mutated the police dogs into killing machines. The best part was that New York's ruin wasn't loud and explosive. It was slow, quiet, lonely, and made you feel like if you died, nobody would ever know. You wouldn't get some heroic death storming the enemy helicopter from the rooftop, only to eat 50 RPG rounds at the last minute and die in a blaze of glory. You would bleed slowly from the innards, shivering as your extremities grew cold, and you would pass. Nowhere was safe. Our world was in danger. And you were the only one equipped to fix that. This also worked as a balancing factor, as it meant that for the most part, you couldn't just grind mercilessly for a better gun. You'd find the weak guns early on and get progressively better armaments as you went on, not only in terms of damage, but with extra effects like more shots per turn or a shotgun-style spread blast. All in all, it was like a more subtle version of Megaman X's power curve. There was no fanfare, no "You got the Two Actions Per Turn mod!!!" just quietly acclimating to your new abilities. "Oh, so that's how that works. Neat. Been wanting something like that."
  9. It seems to me that making 'mastery of your role' the ultimate goal would just be seen as another chore, achievement, or 100% completion run by players though. By endgame, you've got the skills you're comfortable with, the combos that work for you, and have carved out your own little niche and identity as the warrior, the mage. Games like Crackdown and Fable have a problem with forcing a character to hit 100% in their field: they became homogenized as the customized training they've been going through all game steadily makes them more and more like everyone else. Good warriors don't master every fighting style known to man. They may familiarize themselves with the other styles, perfect counters against them, but they aren't gonna learn every single technique. Unless of course you force them, like making a different parry for every situation, but by locking them into having that weakness, you unnecessarily limit them, and most will find it frustrating when they know intellectually how to avoid an attack but their character can't do it. The best way to do a self-improvement path is by forcing a player to pick a side and steadily carve it out more and more sharply. For example, in The World Ends With You, I spent weeks collecting sword- and spear-themed pins so that my entire deck was based around my obsession with weapon martial arts XD
  10. Densoro

    Is gaming going downhill?

    Hahah, maybe. That's a scary thought though; I'd really rather not think camouflage is super effective against me IRL xD But that's the thing. I think graphics have gotten more definition than real life. I can spot people as distinct shapes out to a much better distance out here than I can in Modern Warfare. It feels like they've overanimated every blade of grass, every grain of sand, and managed to make everything look 'extreme closeup with perfect sunset lighting' good from 50 meters, at which point it just becomes a Picasso painting.
  11. Densoro

    Is gaming going downhill?

    Maybe it's just because I'm colorblind, but I can't see a damn thing in all these games with so-called HD graphics. I've caught myself running straight at an enemy, unable to differentiate them from the wall and wondering where all the hostiles are, only to get knifed in the face. Similarly, super-advanced physics engines only really add something to games based on using physics, like Portal or Half-life 2. In your average shooter, I hardly notice that exploded barrels are rolling more realistically than they used to. They occasionally provide some fun moments, like shooting an airborne petrol tank in Crackdown, watching it fly off, then getting put on a police hitlist five minutes later...because it rained back down and clocked a civilian upside the head. But all in all, rising tech levels just add some sandbox to an otherwise normal game, and there's such a thing as too much of a good thing. I've always preferred the graphical level of the PS2 and Gamecube, and games with rigid rules and mechanics that you have to learn to abuse xD Custom Robo comes to mind. The levels are tiny and there's hardly any physics beyond the laughable drop straight down when you get blasted out of the air, but the sheer amount of customization and strategy makes it so much fun. Similar can be said of The World Ends With You or Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. But I wouldn't say gaming is going downhill; those games delivered, and I loved every second of them.
  12. Densoro

    Fantasy RPG Without the Adventure

    That's really the best way to do NPCs imo, and you see it in other 'small world' games like Harvest Moon. Nobody's a throwaway, an extra. They may seem like it because they never say anything relevant to you on your chosen path beyond "Howdy," but then you see your friend play a completely different way and they're best friends with somebody who you thought had no lines. Everybody's got a story. This is true in life, so it should be true in your game too ^^ And yeah, limiting the economy and resources is basically a must for a game like this to really come into its own. Not only should shops have limited money; they shouldn't be willing to spend to the last dime on you either. Lest we forget, they're actually trying to make a living, same as you. Plus, tussles over resources are basically the most common sort, so if someone wants in on the lumber industry and you're chopping down as many trees as we can afford to lose, they're gonna take it up with you. And depending on their temperament, swords may or may not be involved.
  13. Densoro

    Fantasy RPG Without the Adventure

    Depending on how it's done, I think this could be interesting. Maybe have a hard time limit for every day like in Harvest Moon, so you can train what you like after you've seen to the day's duties or decide to blow off your day job grinding out sword skill. A well fleshed-out battle system would be a must, and the presence of mythical beasties far outside the village could add a lot to the game. Your average player will get by selling bread and horse shoes, but the occasional, truly exceptional fighter could dare venture out into the world and make a name for himself slaying things three times his size. Depending on how well-written the combat is, the ratio of people taking on these 'hard mode' challenges would end up much like it is in real life. But the combat would have to be just about perfect to facilitate this: forcing the player to take turns bonking the enemy on the head like Final Fantasy won't fly, even for fighting deer. Similarly, interpersonal matters would have to be a lot more involved than they are in Fable. Carbon copy NPCs put together from scrap parts, reciting one-size-fits-all dialogue repeatedly won't actually make the player feel connected. Still, it seems like it'd be very easy to fall into a pattern of "Water the crops, pluck the barley, help at the bakery, go to sleep, repeat." The problem with marketing your game on having an unremarkable adventure is that it'll be...well, unremarkable.
  14. Densoro

    Do i need more Classes?

    As Jefferson said, there's the issue of the sub/classes feeling samey; I love cosmetic customization, but only in relation to appearance. If you give me several face shapes, body styles, eyes and hairstyles to work with, I'll be in heaven. But when the actual gameplay offers me a false sense of choice, that actually really gets under my skin. I want the rifle and the SMG to feel different. Hell, I want the top-heavy broadsword to feel different from the hilt-heavy one. Choices should matter; the player wants to be able to make their character and their play-style mesh. By just painting the special effects different colors...well, you get the Mass Effect 3 ending rage XD
  15. I agree with Ashaman: going with familiar monsters kind of lowers the game's scare value. Familiarity creates comfort, and being able to easily describe the monster lets us quickly tuck it away instead of letting it haunt us. That's why the early Silent Hill games were so successful: their monstrous freaks of nature weren't neatly summed-up, and encounters with them were hopefully short, with you either running away, shooting them, or being eviscerated. You don't have time to 'get to know' them, and that keeps them mysterious, unknown -- terrifying.
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