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About onyxflame

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  1. Playing a Prophet?

    I once had a similar game idea based on David Eddings books. What if there were good prophecies, and evil prophecies, and you had to try to set up things so that the good prophecies would come true (making sure the guy who's supposed to start up a royal line doesn't die, for instance) while the evil guys run around trying to make their prophecies come true. Also, if one side can figure out what the other side's prophecies are based on their actions, they can try to thwart the other side's prophecies. It could theoretically have a lot of replay value, if you have a large variety of prophecies and only some are used for each game, AND if failing to make one of your prophecies come true/failing to thwart an enemy prophecy didn't instantly end the game. The idea would be to have more of your prophecies succeed than the enemy's prophecies, within a certain amount of time, but which ones actually happened would affect the world in some meaningful way so the endgame world state could theoretically be hugely varied.
  2. Just let them play!!

    Ehh, that AP was me. Stupid thing lied when it told me I was logged in. O.o
  3. non-violent teen-to-adult game concepts

    Actually, if you showed me Half-Life, I'd probably say "yuck, another shoot stuff game...got any RPG's?" I've never played it, I have no interest in playing it, but that doesn't mean I've never heard of it. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled topic. :P
  4. Getting You to the Fringes

    Lots of possibilities here. 1. If your empire gets big enough, you'll need to expand fringeward anyway. 2. Maybe you have to go out in the boonies to get around the empire of some aliens you don't get along with very well. 3. Fringe planets could have tradable resources either different from other planets, or in higher quantity. (Think spice in Dune.) 4. That's where Big Powerful Aliens Who Blew Themselves Up lived, and discovering bits of their tech is a big old quest type thingy. There could also be a mystery about why they died that you can try to learn the answer to, to keep your people from doing the same thing. 5. Occasional reports of someone else's lost colony ships that were headed that way but were never heard from again. So you'd be trying to find out if they were alive or not...if not, you might be able to salvage their supplies, if so, you might be able to set up trades of resources or knowledge with them. 6. Scientific anomalies like wormholes or quasars or something that you'd want info about. (It worked for Star Trek anyway...heck, you could use just about every method of exploration from Star Trek, because no one can deny that they explored a hell of a lot of places. :P) I really think that you don't need to do a whole lot of this though. If the goal of finding intelligent life is integral enough and important enough, most players would explore everywhere they possibly could in hopes of finding another civilization. How are you doing the aliens anyway? I'd think a ton of alien races would be best, because (a) there's a lot of space and (b) the more variety in what you can find, the more interesting it'll be to try to find it.
  5. Quote:I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I wasn't suggesting that the player not be able to affect the big picture (since that's probably the point of playing the game), but I was suggesting that perhaps there's no way to affect the big picture by interacting with the woodcutter. Perhaps he's not popular enough that anybody would take much notice if he died, and lazy enough that bringing more wood just gave him more leisure time. Either way, nothing really happens. Would that also be acceptable? If not, it's just another "LOOK!!! Its a man walking in the woods! It must be a quest!!!". Of course it wouldn't have to have much of an effect. Not every woodcutter is important. But I wouldn't want to go to all the effort of killing him and then not even have anyone notice. Maybe his wife hated his guts, maybe everyone in town hated his guts, but someone should at least say "Oh Fred's dead, cool" instead of just babbling on about their laundry as usual. Few things annoy me more than when something happens and no one seems to know or care. (Suzie saying "We're all doomed!" AFTER you kill the dragon. Yeesh.) Quote:I don't see what this has to do with atmosphere being seperate from quests (Unless it is a quest, which I thought we were trying to get away from) and important actions (Is getting a bunch of drunks to giggle really that important?). When I hear "atmosphere" I think "something whose purpose is to enhance the feel of the game". I think it's appropriate to have something just for atmosphere, with no greater purpose. Then again, my immersion isn't broken by not being able to pick up lamps. Well, you could do this in a variety of ways. Maybe the drunks laughing at you bit has no effect, maybe it means people you meet will be too busy cracking jokes to tell you about important things, maybe it means people who like or hate you more because of this whole event chain will raise or lower their shop prices. It doesn't really *have* to have an effect though, because the whole purpose is for it to be an interactive piece of atmosphere. No it's not a quest, neither was the woodcutter example. It's just bits of the world you can interact with in ways 500 other games haven't already done, and thus I'd consider it normal gameplay actions. Of course, if this event does have meaning (read: plot development possibilities), maybe you could end up running into a group of perverts who routinely steal undies, who decide to admit you into their group and you make beautiful nefarious music together. If something like this happened, the whole flavor of the game could change just from one little random action on your part. Which means that literally *anything* you're capable of doing in the game could spawn a plotline, rather than having to wait around for Joe to give you a quest. Quote:Personally, I've never played the Sims, but my understanding is that that's something you have to do to advance in the game. Also personally, I find levelling up boring in RPG's, but that's something you have to do to progress at some points, so I do it. As for selling stuff in Dragon Warrior 4, it is a nice change of pace, perhaps making it seem like there's more to the world, but insisting that something like that be possible with any given NPC seems to be taking the concept too far. I don't know whether I'd even want to wash dishes to stay at an inn, it was just an example. Maybe waiting on customers in the common room would be more fun because you'd get to hear the gossip and you'd have to run back and forth and remember who ordered what. Not to mention dealing with the occasional dirty old man who tries to pinch your butt. Definitely more interactive than washing boring dishes, and it could spin off future goals too (rescue Marge's lost kid, try to get Max and his wife back together, steal Fergus the pervert's horse because he's disgusting and stinky and your butt will never be the same), which makes it more integral to the game and not just something tacked on for the hell of it. Quote:I was just told I can't heal... so I have to fight even tougher enemies? I think I'll save some time and reload now ;) Well, if it's night, wouldn't that give you a better chance to avoid enemies you don't want to fight? :) Quote:Seems a bad idea to make a supposed safe-haven unsafe. I'd feel it morally equivalent to an ambush in an FPS that you can only really survive by knowing it's coming. Cheap kills and such. If it's known in advance that that sort of thing can happen (i.e. it fits with the rest of the game) sure, why not? So long as I have a fighting chance. It could easily be coded so no one would accost you unless you had at least 50% health (or whatever other % you want). You'd definitely need to know it was possible though...and you might even be able to do the same thing to random guys sleeping in the inn. Quote:Because if some NPC is going to save the world, my raison d'etre is gone ;) (Note, I think it would be interesting if some game didn't have me save the world, but I help some NPC save the world, or am doing something else interesting while some NPC saves the world) Well, saving the world is about as cliche' as you can get anyway. So either you'd have to think of some other overall goal, or turn it into SimMedievalWorld, and have various villians pop up based on previous events so that even if some NPC was trying to kill the evil Emperor of Doom, you could still try to kill the Baron of Flatulence. (I kind of like this idea actually...what if the villian you have to kill is a villian you basically created yourself? For instance, Woodcutter's brother is a prosperous merchant, and he gets pissed at you for killing his brother, so he hires a bunch of mercs and assassins and you have to (a) survive, and (b) burn his house down with him in it, or whatever other method of defeating him the game allows for.)
  6. Just let them play!!

    Well with this setup, you'd have absolute control over who played your kids. The only possible problem would be if the parents' players disagreed about who'd get to play one, but they can solve that easily by just having 2 kids. Also, if you have adoption, some people could basically have instant kids, but they'd have no control over what the kid's stats were. You *could* just skip the baby/kid part altogether, and have them spawned as fully playable chars instantly, but that cuts out on the kidnapping possibilities and the fun of not knowing exactly what your kid's gonna turn out like skillwise. As for the barefoot & pregnant deal...nothing says it has to be completely realistic. Either you could just ignore it except for a "pregnant" flag that might have some in-game effects (some NPC's are nicer or charge less for their wares, maybe bartenders occasionally refuse to give you booze), or just have them be pregnant for 3 days or something, or both. As much as I like to RP, I have no desire to RP out pregnancy aside from a couple of mood swings either, heh. I think this kid thing might actually create a whole new kind of game...something like MMORPG meets the Sims. Having the time scale go so fast that 18 years of a kid's life pass in a week or a month or whatever would be really bad for people who want to do the typical get to level 99 and kill lotsa stuff thing, but would probably be interesting for the ones who want to see what a certain family turns into after 6 generations. At the same time that having such a fast timescale actually limits RP possibilities, it also takes away some of the pressure to make something interesting happen every day of game-time. So while this may or may not be useful for a MMORPG, it could be usefull for something entirely different.
  7. Not having actually completed a game yet, I could be just talking out my ass here. But here's a few of my ideas on the subject. - If you create the story before figuring out all the nitty gritty aspects of actual gameplay, don't be afraid to revise your story to fit better. (Aerys or whatever her name was in FF7 for instance. HOW many times did she die during combat, and then suddenly this one dude's able to kill her forever? Get real.) View your original story as a starting point, and be aware that you may have to add/subtract/change aspects of it at some point along the line. - I personally think it's entirely possible to collaborate on a story and have it turn out good. Sometimes other people think of twists and turns that you wouldn't have imagined in a million years, that end up making it better than what you could've produced alone. You should DEFINITELY know the person you're trying to collaborate with though...if I like intricate plot twists and deep philosophical questions, and you like zombies eating everyone's faces, we're probably not going to produce anything good, even if we can keep from arguing long enough to produce anything, period.
  8. Just let them play!!

    Another thought of how to have permadeath without all the negative aspects: You are able to get married and have kids (or have kids without getting married, or adopt, or whatever), and when your char dies, your kids can continue your family name and be playable. You and the other parent's player would have to decide who would get which kids, and you could allow someone else to play one of your kids (via password or somesuch), so if you wanted to see what it was like to play a family of mostly mages instead of your old noble warriors. Kids would be considered carryable objects until the age of 5 or so. Parents could take care of them or put them in some kind of daycare facility, depending on preference. Since the babies can be picked up, your enemies can easily kidnap them, leading to interesting plot possibilities. From the age of 5 until 16-18, the kid would wander around tagging along behind you, or independently. (The older it gets, the more likely it is to wander independently.) You could still put your kid in daycare, or try to get it to follow someone else so you could go out on a killing spree without endangering it. Upon reaching an age suitable for it to go adventuring, the kid would become fully playable, and if no one wanted to play it, it could continue to wander around as an NPC until someone dies and needs to play it. Perhaps you could choose to make your kid always be an NPC (like a shopkeeper or the town drunk, whatever), like if you had 6 kids and knew you'd never be able to play them all before they died of old age. At birth, kids would have stats determined by their parents' stats, with a bit of randomness thrown in. (I'm picturing a stat system where your stats don't go up as you get more powerful, although there could be spells to temporarily raise them.) Coding for all possibilities of interracial marriages would suck (what does a 1/2 human, 1/4 elf, 1/4 dwarf look like???), so you'd probably have to make it that you can have interracial romance but it's infertile. The kid's skills at the time you become able to play him would be determined by what you teach him (or what you have a school teach him), and what he sees people doing a lot (And I mean a LOT. Seeing Uncle Joe pick a lock once wouldn't automatically turn him into a thief...he'd have to see the action repeated on a regular basis.). So if he hangs out with a school buddy who's learned thief skills from his parents, he'll end up with thief skills too. Likewise, if he hangs out with a bunch of drunken wizards, he might learn magic even though both his parents are fighters, which would lead to interesting plot possibilities. I think this system could have everything. If you want true permadeath, just don't have kids. If you want to create a big powerful family that eventually ends up running a town, you can do that. Any time you die, you can choose to make a totally new char rather than playing your ancient elven mage family's newest installment. And if you want, you can just experiment to see what happens if you try to get your warrior's kid to hang out with the local baker. Of course, the time rate of the game would have to be such that your kids would grow fast enough to be playable by the time you wanted to play them, as well as so you could see 6 generations of your nice little family. Which means any given char probably won't get really really skilled before he dies of old age, providing of course that you don't get him killed off at the ripe old age of 26. (Having a variety of races with different lifespans would be good.) Hmm, I think I'm turning into Wavinator. 2 really huge posts in one day now. :P
  9. Quote:I have a problem with it. While it's not a quest, it's still requiring there to be something the player can do that'll affect the big picture. Basically, just a quest on a smaller scale. What's wrong with affecting the big picture? I LIKE affecting the big picture, I just don't want it to be such that by the end of the game everyone loves me because I've helped them out so much. At least with the woodcutter example, you're affecting the world in a logical but unexpected way...unexpected in that you don't HAVE to interact with him, but if you do help him or kill him or whatever, things happen because of it. It's like the ecosystem someone else mentioned, only taken to another level entirely. (Of course to be 100% realistic, NPC's would have to be born, age, and die, woodcutter's wife could maybe take up with another man, etc etc etc. Probably more bother than it's worth, and how are you going to see the whole lifespan of any given NPC unless you have a much longer lifespan than he does, which just feeds back into the "you're so powerful, do all these quests for me!" bit.) Quote:Because that's boring. In the distant past, I remember playing games with a day/night cycle where I couldn't do much at night. It was just boring down time. "So put some interesting game play at night." Well, then it just becomes "To get this quest/play this mini game/have this encounter/whatever, you have to stay up past your bed time", which makes it less atmosphere and more a hook into a quest/whatever, where we were looking for atmosphere. Why does atmosphere have to be seprate from quests and important actions? Take the laundry example from my last post. If Mary says she always does laundry on Wednesdays, then that means she's gonna be home so you can't rob her house, however you could crash on her floor if needed. It also means you can steal her underpants from the clothesline on Wednesdays, if you particularly want to. So you steal her underpants, and people eventually find out about it, and pretty soon every time you walk into the local tavern, the townspeople point and laugh at you. Trivial event turned into a more interactive event that also adds atmosphere. And sure, maybe washing dishes is boring. But people play the Sims all the time, where you have to wash dishes, and they seem to like it. (I personally loved the part in I think it was chapter 3 of Dragon Warrior 4, where you were playing the shopkeeper's assistant, and had to sell stuff and take the money back to the shopkeeper. It got old after a while, which is why it was good that you didn't have to do it for long, but it was just so different from what I expected that I adored it anyway.) As for the day/night thing, you could always do like Castlevania 2 & make tougher monsters come out to hunt at night. Have some town residents who stay up late, and others who go to bed early...if they have patterns, you can learn who's best to rob when, or just who you'll be able to babble with at 3am. Also, make it much more likely that a thief will wander through the alleys trying to rob you. If you have an arch-nemesis, he could occasionally send henchmen after you at night, trying for surprise. (Side note: what about a part like in LOTR where the bad guys try to attack you while you're sleeping in your nice safe inn room? I know other games have done this, but what about if it wasn't some big scripted scene but just something that could happen in normal gameplay if you pissed a certain person off? And why is it so bad to run into baddies while recuperating in an inn, when you're only at half health or whatever? It happens all the time in D&D games, not to mention at least 1 Ultima game.) Quote:It's a classic example from a lot of games. There are NPCs in need of aid, direly, and they just stand there and twiddle their thumbs as you parade around them in your shiniest armor and elitest +5 weapon. Maybe they have an exclamation mark above their head, fine, but they still don't actually seek out help. It'd have to be done carefully otherwise it'd get annoying as hell having some guy run up to you every 3 steps. I remember this beggar NPC in Ultima 6 I think it was, for SNES. He always accosted you just after you exited a certain building, and somehow managed to pretend to be Lord British while begging for money. And he got really REALLY annoying before long. For that matter, why don't any of the NPC's seem capable of doing anything for themselves? (I'm thinking of Lufia 2 here, where the king has you go do tons of stuff even though he's got a bunch of soldiers. The game explains this by saying his soldiers suck, but if they suck that bad, how has the kingdom managed to stay in one piece all these years?) Why can't you ever ask them to do anything for you? ("Here kid, here's a few coppers. Go buy me a sandwich.") What if there was a guy who told you he was on a quest for some sword, and you went and got the sword for him, and he was actually annoyed at you for doing it because that was how he'd intended to prove himself manly? Anyway, I'll stop rambling now. I know a lot of this stuff is either impossible to code or would take so long no one would want to bother with it, but someday I'd like to see games that do this kind of stuff. (Of course, all this could easily work in MMORPG's, however it'd require people to actually RP instead of just wanting high skills/levels and lotsa l00t.)
  10. Is to much originality a bad thing?

    It all depends. I think I'm far more willing to embrace originality in games of a type I don't normally play, than in something like an RPG for instance. If I play an RPG, I want it to be turn-based or semi-turn-based (i.e. Chrono Trigger), so all those people who said "hey wouldn't it be neat to have an RPG with realtime battles?" to me aren't even making an RPG anymore, because it has the wrong flavor. I might possibly find a game like that fun, but I wouldn't really consider it an RPG anymore and thus there'd always be a certain amount of disappointment. If people are going to be original when making RPG's, I want them to be original in making the world and possible game actions more detailed and/or complex, not just pasting on some FPS combat system. Now, take puzzle games for instance. Originality is the bread & butter there, because most puzzle games are really simple in rules/actions, and thus Identical Puzzle Game XIII is just boring. Maybe this means there's a rule of thumb with originality...the more complex the game, the easier originality can kill it if done wrong; the simpler the game, the more originality you need to keep it from being another boring rehash. Any thoughts?
  11. non-violent teen-to-adult game concepts

    So you're only a hardcore gamer if you like games where the only thing to do is kill stuff? Sounds kinda screwy to me...
  12. Love the ideas, evolutional. :) I'd sooo love to see that in a game. One thing I've been semi-annoyed with during my entire RPG playing experience: why is there ALWAYS room in the inn for your party to stay and rest up? Why can't people (NPC's) be going about their lives, and one day there just happen to be so many of them staying in the inn that there's no room for you? Maybe you'd have to do dishes in the inn in order to get a temporary spot on the floor or in some servant's room, or you'd have to haggle to be able to sleep in the stables or something. Or maybe you just have to wander around occupying yourself until tomorrow night. And with all these dragons attacking villages, why do the villagers all sit there waiting to die? Why don't some of them become refugees? Maybe that's why the inn is full - refugees from a dragon-ravaged town are occupying it. :P (Which would give you a reason to kill a dragon NOT involving getting large amounts of treasure or some specific reward from a king or whatever.) In general, I think things should have *some* meaning though...even if as another poster said, it's just atmosphere. But atmosphere should be interspersed with genuinely useful stuff. For instance, the NPC's that wander around in the first NES Ultima game. Some of them say nothing more important than "it's a good day to do laundry". Which is nifty in moderation, but when you have to hunt to find an NPC who says something not involving laundry, it gets annoying. So, as with everything else, you have to strike a balance.
  13. Motivation to play games

    I can't really define why I like video games, other than because they're fun for me. It's like trying to define why I like spinach but not carrots. My mom, however, says she likes video games because they keep her brain active, but don't necessarily require as much logic as chess, for instance. A lot of games are scalable...you can still get through without knowing intricate details of everything or massive planning, but if you WANT to learn more or plan a lot, that works too. For this reason, you can play for 30 minutes or 3 hours and have equal fun. She also likes the challenge of beating it through her own wits rather than pure luck or randomness. It's probably also to some extent an escape from the stress of her job...even when the game becomes stressful due to difficulty, at least it's stress that's not important in the big picture. And some of it is just to see what happens next, just like reading a book. I agree that some people don't play video games because they're useless, however I think there's a bigger reason. They're too busy either doing useful stuff, or doing some other useless stuff such as flirting with total strangers in a bar. Win or lose, a game of solitaire generally takes much less time to complete than your average video game. Other issues include lack of money to buy video games/systems, and fear of doing it or learning how to do it. The "oh I'm not good enough for THAT" syndrome, which I have to admit is why I don't care much for games involving lots of action, heh. You might be able to attract some non-gamers by doing various things, but for some people it'd require changing their self-image, which people are generally pretty resistant about.
  14. Just let them play!!

    I happen to think permadeath actually improves roleplaying. You don't send your little wussy mage out to fight 10 zombies alone because you know he'll die, and that's pretty much how a real wussy mage would act if there were real wussy mages. For this reason, I have the opinion that people who hate permadeath are just in it for the killing stuff part. I could be wrong, and don't take this as a flame, but that's how I feel. I think there should be a MMORPG where you never have to kill anything if you don't want to. Few things kill RP more than levels, and only being able to gain levels by killing stuff. Even with a pure skill-based system, some people tend to spend every waking moment practicing one thing or another. What's so bad about sitting around in a tavern gossiping? Sure you don't get your Uber Sword skill, but your char makes friends (and enemies) which provide for later plot points not precoded by the game. Too many people think the game is only fun once they gain skills/levels/whatever, but why? These are probably the same ones I mentioned above who are only interested in the combat possibilities of the game. A side note on permadeath - I don't care for "1 death, you're out" types. There should be a resurrection spell, which can be used if you can get your corpse and a healer in the same place (either by having friends move your corpse, or by sending a "deathtell" to get a healer to come to where you died) before your corpse rots away. If your corpse rots away, bam, that's it. If you can get ressed, you continue on as normal, losing skills based on how long your corpse sat there before getting ressed. This way, intelligence and careful planning is rewarded by long life, whereas people who can't or won't learn what's too much for them to handle die a lot. As for getting attatched to your char and then having it die after you've spent months on it, that's life. I still think fondly on chars I've played in the past, but really if they were still alive I would've gotten bored with them by now. As someone previously said, if you make it interesting to play a char from the beginning, permadeath won't be as big of a hardship. And who knows, you might even hear others talking about how cool something your previous char did was. You can make a real history this way, and old chars don't have to fight to get respect because it's automatic that newbies will be in awe of their ability to stay alive so long. (Except for the total morons who don't respect anything, that is.) The key, I think, is that every time you permadie, you think "ok, now how can I make my next char even cooler/more interesting/more fun to play than the one that just died?" Just my opinions of course, based on experience playing in several MUDs which enforce RP, all but one of which include permadeath of one type or another. (The non-permadeath MUD actually has pretty good RP, but I think that has a lot to do with the fact that its players are mainly German and British and so on.)
  15. Are genres a blessing or a curse?

    We have genres in books and TV and even paintings, I don't see how games could get away from the model if they wanted to. In a lot of cases, genres are mainly definitions of what works and what doesn't. For instance, if there was an RPG where the combat was like a FPS (which there may very well be), I wouldn't like sticking FPS elements in it because I have crappy reflexes. A FPS fan, on the other hand, would likely hate having to wander around talking to various NPC's to progress in the game. That doesn't mean no one should ever make that kind of game though...sure it's probably not financially sound, but if we make games solely for how much money we can get out of them, we're little better than a scantily-clad woman standing on a street corner. I think the key is, don't combine elements of various genres specifically to combine elements of various genres. Do it because you think that kind of game would be cool and fit together. Don't just paste on an FPS interface because you want something different, do it because it's integral to the game you want to make. It's like writing a story...why talk about what Uncle Joe ate for breakfast unless it's important to the overall picture somehow?
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