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About rmsgrey

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  1. Beyond death

    In Soul Reaver, "death" in physical just drops you back to spirit world where you need to find a portal and regenerate your health to full to get back to physical. "Death" in spiritual dumps you back at the start location with a long walk to get back where you were (shorter if you've been activating the warp portal devices as you go. Of course, you could also drop back to the spirit world from the physical any time, and many of the game's puzzles required you to travel in the spirit world for a while between manipulating objects in the physical.
  2. What have been the bad elements of past CRPGs?

    Final Fantasy X-2 is probably the most replayable RPG I've encountered. Most plot threads have only one or two alternate versions, though there's one which I think has 6 distinct resolutions (a whodunnit with 5 suspects and a failure case) but the innovation of New Game Plus (carrying over skills and items - but not levels - from one play through to the next) makes it a lot easier both to replay the game (you get to keep the cool gear) and to become stupidly powerful (you can re-run the plot while you learn the boring skills rather than having to run in small circles somewhere)
  3. What have been the bad elements of past CRPGs?

    Quote:Original post by Jiia Only kings and emperors care about how pretty their weapon is. Which ties back into the issues about reputation and combat-centric gameplay. If someone has a really flashy (unique) sword, then they're easier to identify on sight (unless the sword is concealed) and tales of their exploits will tend to accumulate together - having 10 stories about the man with the crimson blade rather than 10 stories about mysterious strangers. On the other hand, if the game revolves around combat, then barely anyone would bother to make their sword visually impressive (then again, one of the "wow, cool" moments in Kingdom Hearts was seeing "Leon" (Squall from FF8) change from his regular weapon to a Lionheart). Equally, people would be disapointed if, in a Star Wars game, lighting up a lightsaber didn't make the familiar noise... *************************************************************************** On the topic of implementing a good reputation system, maybe we can't come up with any noticeable impact on existing games of replacing a slightly tweaked "good enough" system. On the other hand, once you've got a system implemented and can play around with it, it's a lot easier to see just what you can do with it. One (possibly apocryphal) example of a gameplay feature that wasn't designed in is rocket jumping. Without actually playing with a "proper" reputation system, it's very hard to be sure what the possibilities and limitations of such a system would be. *************************************************************************** One of my pet hates in RPGs that I don't think anyone's mentioned yet in this thread is the massive mismatch between the pacing of the plot and the pacing imposed on the player by the basic mechanics - "Oh no! An extinction level asteroid is going to impact soon! We must hurry and spend everal months running round in small circles to get enough random encounters to level up far enugh to be able to take on the final boss!" The number of times in Final Fantasy games where I've got caught up in the tension of the plot, and moved rapidly through several areas, only to find that I'm sufficiently underpowered to not have a chance against the boss at the end of the section, is ridiculous! Having a role-playing game where the only way to progress is to ignore the role the game presents for you and wander off somewhere for a while is just plain wrong. And then people complain that all cRPG players are munchkins. It's because any other approach gets you killed!
  4. What have been the bad elements of past CRPGs?

    Quote:Original post by Nytehauq 2.) Realism isn't just graphics. Physics adds to realism. The subtle way that things move adds to the realism. However, realism isn't a very good word to use for this quality. Familiarity and some relation to the real world are a prerequisite of humor and enjoyment. Without delving too much into phsychology, we find things humorous (I know game 'fun' isn't neccesarily humor, bear with me) because they break out of an expected pattern. The brain works on patterns. Things are fun because they exceed our expectations, or give us the idea (Illusionary or otherwise) that we've gotten something, or fulfilled a need. Realism is needed in games to suspend disbelief, and to set up a scenario that the player can understand. Without belief first (reality) there can be no suspension of disbelief. Furthermore, in any game (unless previously stated), the player assumes that the game world has some things in common with the real world. If you created a game that had no common paradigms with the real world, it would be useless. Even the most 'abstract' of titles have lots in common. Rez, for instance, featured a humanoid character flying around a world composed of texureless polygons and lines. People called this abstract. But it's not really. Humanoid characters, music, physical surroundings (even if they were composed only of lines). Just to lay the 'Realism' aspect to rest. Realism is neccesary for familiarity which is neccesary for fun. As a final end to that argument, there has been no game ever realeased that attained any level of genuine fun (E.g., you can't build a real argument against this) devoid of familiarity. Even Tetris had gravity! In fact, only the simplest puzzle games don't have abundant familiarity to reality - but for any complex game, it's a requirement. Semi-recent bestselling game "Who wants to be a millionaire?" being a fine example of high levels of realism... The real concern is not realism, but consistency. If the player can learn the rules of the game world quickly and easily, and those basic rules don't change significantly, then you have just as much basis for "belief". The benefit of "realism" is that it has a pre-learnt system to draw on. The disadvantage is that departures from outright realism are more jarring. Quote: 3.)D&D rules? Great for a boardgame. I've played many hours of D&D without ever seeing a board. Whatever other things it may be, D&D is most emphatically not a boardgame. Quote:The more suspension of disbelief without incumbering irritating limitations (It'd suck if you died from gunfire realistically in Max Payne - that would be going overboard. But if you could fly and were invulnerable to bullets, the game would suck just as much.) the better. Therein, to settle that argument, whether or not realism is needed needs to be decided in a logical fashion on a CASE BY CASE BASIS. When someone speaks of increasing realism in a game, the counter argument should not be, "Realism is bad and makes games boring," just as the argument should not be, "Realism is good and suspends disbelief." It's a case by case thing. However, in most cases, it seems that people oppose realism for a silly reason and people pupport realism for an ill-defined while probably good one. As far as I can see, the major benefits of "realism" are: 1) It's a selling point for the back of the game box. 2) It saves developers from straining their imaginations to come up with an original system instead. 3) It presents the player with an immediately familiar setting. 4) We're fairly sure that the universe's rules are pretty well balanced, and tend not to break down in interesting ways, so copying from reality gives a better chance of a good starting balance. Quote: 5.) Seeing as a certain amount and type of realism is good, and pushing the status quo is an oppurtunity to both chase down creativity and sell a blockbuster game, it logically follows that new ideas should be welcomed, not shunned. What does realism have to do with new ideas? Quote:That said, the item system pisses me off in most RPG's. In Diablo II, the system worked great, however. It's counter intuitive and unrealistic to limit someone's armor based on class. Why is it that these two characters who look physically exactly the same will have such vastly differing strength? In Diablo II, sorceresses wore less armor than Barbarians because sorceresses had to invest more in mana than strength. They *could* use heavy armor, but it would require a large investment that would be outweighed by the losses in mana. Sure, the current system works. But this one was better. I'd like someone to please explain to me how you can randomly find a piece of armor that fits you perfectly (Real armor has to be customized for its wearer. I find it hard to believe that you could find the exact same magical item as someone else and have it fit both people in reality) - but you can't wear a piece of armor because "You're a mage." Am I physically incapable of PUTTING THIS HELM ON MY HEAD? That is such a lazy, half assed design mechanism. Instead of developing a better more complicated system, they cut corners and put in this lazy system instead. Bah. Most modern pnpRPGs let magic users use armour and weaponry at horrendous penalties (typically inability to cast spells and reduced effectiveness of the equipment) As far as mages wearing hats goes, a chunk of cold iron closely associated with the brain of someone trying to manipulate mystical energies is liable to short out their spellcasting. And, the magically fitting armour is an obvious abstraction to avoid having to find a blacksmith and spend months having it resized and fitted. It's still possible to wear unfitted armour (though it's less effective) and, unless the player characters are prepared to spend the time getting the armour custom fitted, the chances are that their armour is a patchwork of unmatched pieces by the time they've upgraded a few times.
  5. Why is Zelda popular?

    It's definitely not nostalgia for me - I met Zelda through Ocarina when I went to uni, and completed it about a dozen times more or less in a row (including once with no unecessary pickups and delaying necessary ones as long as possible - man is crossing the desert without the Eye tough! - also completing it in a single sitting and completing it getting items as far ahead of sequence as possible). By now I must have completed it more than 20 times, though I've long since stopped keeping count. I've no idea what, specifically, drew me to it - the soundtrack's good, the minigames are generally well designed, the basic combat mechanic is fun, the puzzles are generally solvable through logic in advance rather than needing to guess and then realise why (or in some cases guess without a clue why) as can be the case with adventure games. The game-world is internally consistent (though not very realistic) so things you learn in one situation usually transfer across to other circumstances (the most common reason for getting stuck in a Zelda game is probably failing to realise a given item has a given capability) and the path through the game is clearly signposted, but there are also rewards for exploring the rest of the world. The biggest negative about the entire game (for me) is the early tutorial section, where, after a lengthy prologue cutscene which you can't skip, but do have to keep prompting to continue, you keep getting stopped to be told how to play the game - great for a first time player, but increasingly annoying on replay - most particularly the three times you're told to "Pay attention to what the action icon says" (one of which you can avoid). Yes, guidance on how to play the game is a good thing, but if you can't turn it off of avoid it, and have to wait for it to scroll past every single time, it gets a little intrusive. Ultimately, with the exception of Zelda 2, the Zelda series follows a formula, and does it well, with each game being an individual experience, but the entire series having a lot in common - in many ways paralleling the Final Fantasy series (though Zelda might have a single coherent storyline connecting all the games). The formula seems to be pretty successful, and the games implement it well.
  6. Create life not destroy it!

    Dungeon Keeper 2 has "My Pet Dungeon" mode, which is just the base construction/management aspect of the game - with a construction based goal - though you did always have the option of throwing in some heroes if you relf like it...
  7. RPG character recruiting

    Final Fantasy 6? Where you have a vast array of characters, each of whom has their own storyline that can be explored (OK, for some the storyline is "hung around for ages then joined your party", but a lot of the characters have more to their story...) A couple of non-RPG examples of characters: Farah in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (plot) and the "Barney"s in Half Life (recruit)
  8. Games of the future

    Quote:Original post by Wavinator Even the squad vs. single predator might be dicey, but it might work if the the idea is sold correctly to the player, individual unit investment isn't high, and the AI is ALWAYS active or there is gameplay girding up lulls and downtime. XCOM: UFO's last alien syndrome. Somewhere on the map is one last surviving alien - either one that dodged your initial sweeps, or one that was only stunned and has now woken up (and is wandering around unarmed, not having the brains to pick up its weapon). To complete the mission and salvage the alien craft, you need to spend 15-20 minutes scouring the level to locate this last "threat" and neutralise it. Probably the single most annoying part of the game by a long way.
  9. You are not Alone

    I think for me the key would be for the "others" to be believable as players rather than NPC cheats. If all they do is appear, beat you to the prize, and disappear again, I'd treat them as scripted plot elements rather than rival players. If there are a handful (no more) of NPC "players" that I can interact with throughout the game, they're a lot more palatable (particularly if they're not automatically rivals throughout) than if they just pop up. The other thing I'd look for is seeing them competing with each other, not just with me.
  10. Character advancement in RPGs

    Quote:Original post by Anonymous Poster Everything is based upon chance though. When you raise a skill you have a CHANCE to unblock something, but you also have a chance to have it blocked. To make a quick example, if there were swords, maces, and axes I could train swords until blocked, then switch to maces. Maces can increase without unblocking something. So if maces get blocked, I'm left with axes. If axes gets blocked, ??? Anyhow, I don't mind a system that would force me to learn so much before I could learn more in a certain area, but that amount should be set. I don't want to spend half my career practicing pick-pocket, trying to unblock swords, when I just want to work on swords. Yeah, the chance of blocking everything (or having a stubborn early block in a useful skill) is a potential issue. On the other hand, a sensible implementation will include some way of avoiding total block (or be designed in such a way that it's not a serious impediment when it does, inevitably, happen). The point of having the random element rather than pre-set prerequisites is to discourage munchkinism and give players a genuine choice rather than "to improve your longsword as quickly as possible, gain 30 levels of longsword, then 15 levels of flute, then 25 levels of longsword, then 12 levels of pottery, then another 35 levels of longsword..." A necessary corollary of the system is having a broad range of skills and ways of using them in interesting gameplay rather than being able/required to spend 50 hours hacking at trees/committing goblin genocide and then have absolute mastery of your chosen weapon. If the game is well designed for the system, it should be possible for a character that's become blocked in longsword at a reasonable level to still play out the game using his longsword as a competent warrior. There are a couple of tweaks that could get around the problems of premature blocking and total blocking - have a reasonable minimum level of proficiency below which there's no chance of blocking (possibly tied to relevant attribute scores) or allow blocked skills to still advance, but at a reduced rate - say 1% of the unblocked rate. There is a fairly widespread idea historically that the ultimate warrior (the paragon of Knighthood, or the ideal Samurai) is not only supremely skilled with the sword, but also has at least a passing acquaintance with many other skills, and is master of at least a few skills which are useless in combat. In current RPGs (and other video games), the ideal warrior is recognised solely by his ability to slay his enemies in the shortest possible time. Rather than being accounted superior, the player who has invested points in etiquette or dance or astronomy is regarded as inferior to the musclehead whose only virtue is the ability to kill more Orcs per hour.
  11. A couple of years ago, there was a cluster of threads on ways of "levelling up" in cRPGs - since some recent threads have been touchingon similar issues, I thought I'd summarise what I can remember of the suggestions: 1) The default generic XP model - doing anything gets you experience. Whenever your total experience passes a threshhold, your character improves in some arbitrary fashion - either by automatically improving, or by leting the player choose freely what to improve. 2) Learning through skill use - every N times you use a skill, it improves (and related skills may improve slightly). This can be further refined by only learning from successes or only from failures, and would usually include some sort of limiting effect whereby your rate of improvement decays as your skill improves - either by reducing the amount of improvement, increasing the usage requirement for gain, or having a chance of failing to improve linked to your current skill. 3) A system I came up with, whereby you improve skills by use, with a chance of failing to improve each time you advance, and once you fail to advance three times in a row, that skill becomes "blocked" and can no longer improve. If enough skills in a given skill group are blocked, the entire group is considered blocked (and so on up the skill tree). So, for example, a character that specialises heavily in longsword will eventually become blocked, and unable o improve his longsword skill any further. If he then switches to bastard sword, two-handed sword, scimitar, rapier, or whatever, he will be able to improve his skill in whichever he chooses for a while until it eventually becomes blocked too. Once his third type of sword becomes blocked, he's no longer able to gain skill with any specific sword, although he'll probably have a pretty good generic sword skill from the three types he studied before blocking. So our dedicated warrior switches to another type of weapon to focus on, and eventually blocks out on that too. Sooner or later, he's blocked in enough classes of weapon that he just plain can't learn anything new about dealing damage to people. To unblock, you need to improve an unrelated skill - every time you improve a skill, you have a chance to unblock each other skill - the less closely related, and the more chance of improving, the new skill, the more chance of unblocking the old. So our heavily blocked warrior starts studying poetry. After improving a few times, he returns to the longsword, and finds that the aesthetic sense he's developed in studying poetry grants him new insight into the use of a sword - by applying the new principles, he can advance his skill to yet higher levels. And, by unblocking longsword, he's also indirectly unblocked swords in general (which in turn unblocks the higher categories), though may well still be blocked on bastard sword (he's unable to get out of the bad habits he'd studied himself into and apply his new insight)
  12. why not hide the numbers?

    A couple of thoughts on quantisation: A cap on power needn't mean a cap on level number - for example, if each level gained increases your power by half as much as the previous level, then you will never get more than twice the first increment from your base power, but can keep gaining levels until the computer runs out of memory to store the numbers (or, more likely, you die of old age) For stair-step improvement, one problem with level-based games is that everything improves at the same time - which makes bookkeeping easier for PnP players, but is unnecessary in cRPGs - even with an outright XP driven system, you could have the characters various skills and attributes advance at set XP totals independently rather than in lock-step - achieving a significant blurring of the (necessarily) quantised nature of character improvement. For massive hit points, various PnP RPGs explain hit points not in terms of getting stabbed 100 times by a sword and surviving, but in being swung at by the sword 100 times and managing to just dodge (or ride the blow) each time until you're sufficiently tired and/or bruised that subsequent attacks actually connect - high HP representing your being hard to kill because you're good at avoiding being wounded, rather than hard to kill because you can have your head chopped off and still keep fighting. The issue here is more one of terminology than realism - if you called it stamina or survival instinct points, you'd have a lot fewer complaints...
  13. Make work - FUN!

    A Poul Anderson character once defined either sport or a game as something like "work you don't have to do". With that in mind, the major elements that can make something "fun" (in my opinion): 1) Competition - being measured against other people 2) Free choice - not feeling it's something you "must" do (particularly not something you must do in order to get on to something you want to do) 3) Potential achievement - there has to be some sense of progress - either actual or soon to be achievable.
  14. Quote:Original post by Daniel Miller Did Eyetoy really catch on? I thought it had a small boost because of the novelty of it, then it died. And DDR involves jumping up and down, which isn't as lame as picking up something imaginary off the ground and throwing. Eyetoy did well enough that they released a second wave of software that showed up in game sales charts for a while. And I have friends who "don't like games" but spend hours with DDR. There's a difference between "novelty value" and "untapped market niche". I'm not saying I personally would go for such things (in fact, I have never used either) but they seem to be popular among people who aren't conventional gamers.
  15. A hypothetical core mechanic a (mathematician) friend came up with many years ago is to use the normal distribution, and have skill ranks equate to standard deviations - so to pass a check of difficulty 2 with relevant skill at level 5, you'd look up the probability on a standard statistical table (or use a computer) and then roll d10s, one for each decimal place in turn until one of the rolls fails to match (or you run out of decimal places in your source material and just roll 50:50 to decide) - if it misses high, you fail; low you succeed. This system has the advantage that the chance of failure can be made as low as you like by getting additional skill ranks, but once your skill is more than +/- 3 away from the difficulty, it's pretty much irrelevant what your precise skill is. Yes, from time to time, you'll end up rolling a large number of dice, but 90% of checks will resolve on one roll, 99% within two, 99.9% in three or less, and so on - an expected number of rolls of 1.11111 or roughly 10 rolls for every 9 checks.