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## The Western: FPS? RPG? RTS?

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107 replies to this topic

### #21the-seraphim  Members

Posted 11 December 2002 - 08:17 AM

Hi There!

The western era is perfect for adventure games as I have been scteching on a Lucasrt style cartoon Adventure game taking place in the classic West, actually you travel all across America in the search for your gal. The name is Wilde in the west and it would make an exellent game...

Here I am, on the road again

### #22Iron Chef Carnage  Members

Posted 11 December 2002 - 08:17 AM

Set places outside the map that can''t be reached, one way or another. Sure, you can get on your horse and try to cross the Mexican border, but you will be prevented one way or another.

You can''t go too far South, because once you''re about fifty miles into Mexico, you stumble onto a big chunk of Santa Anna''s army and they perforate you for seeing their secret troop movements. Too far north, you "accidentally" walk into some kind of Cherokee holy place, and they ask you to go back. If you refuse, they respond by chopping you to bits. The mountains have strange weather systems that always seem to point unsurvivable storms at players who try to cross them, forcing you to go back down.

Ever see "The Truman Show"? Remember when he tried to get out, but all sorts of increasingly weird things happened to prevent him? That could happen in the game. Make it clear that if they don''t stay in the areas defined (which would of course be massive and dynamic) then they''re going to run afoul of the higher authority who keeps order.

GTA III just had rigid boundaries that you couldn''t cross, usually represented by some half-assed geographical boundary. It was hokey, but nobody really complained, since what you did have access to was so cool.

### #23smiley4  Members

Posted 11 December 2002 - 08:29 AM

Set places outside the map that can't be reached, one way or another. Sure, you can get on your horse and try to cross the Mexican border, but you will be prevented one way or another.

You can't go too far South, because once you're about fifty miles into Mexico, you stumble onto a big chunk of Santa Anna's army and they perforate you for seeing their secret troop movements. Too far north, you "accidentally" walk into some kind of Cherokee holy place, and they ask you to go back. If you refuse, they respond by chopping you to bits. The mountains have strange weather systems that always seem to point unsurvivable storms at players who try to cross them, forcing you to go back down.

You know, Chef, once again you make a valid point. Plus, if you do this, there is always room for an expansion. Say in the expansion, you can go to the East and go up to old New York or run smack-dab into the Civil War!

Then again, someone could always remake The Oregon Trail that we used to play on those old Apple IIs into a 3d adventure.

[edited by - smiley4 on December 11, 2002 3:31:42 PM]

[edited by - smiley4 on December 11, 2002 3:54:10 PM]

### #24smiley4  Members

Posted 11 December 2002 - 08:46 AM

I''d like to say that I''m realy excited about starting a project like this based on this theme. And I take all you guys input into concideration. As for my experience making games, I have little, but by playing games I think I can learn a lot about what content I''d like to see based on the content of game history. I believe that I can take my professional art skills and put them to work on the concept art for such a game. If anyone is willing to join me in taking this idea further (instead of just talking about it), just say the word. I''ll be watching the forums.

### #25Polish  Members

Posted 11 December 2002 - 08:58 AM

I came up with this half-assed idea last year. It still has no real direction and it isn''t fleshed out at all, but I just thought the coincidence was amusing. It''s a sort of a hobby of mine to write these one page synopsis when I think of game elements, I have tons of them. I see a lot of good ideas in this post.

Project: Gunslinger

Character Selection/Creation:
Designed like a standard RPG, the character selection screen will allow a player to select male or female, hair color and style, face, facial hair, physique, clothing style and color. Players will start the game with a standard “kit” consisting of a single handgun, some bullets, a knife, and some money.
Further customization is allowed throughout the game, since a player will be allowed to buy clothing, weapons, items, a horse, and possibly a room or even a house for storage.

Gameplay:
Most easily described as an open-ended action RPG, the player will be given the freedom to interact with various NPCs in the towns and gain quests from them. There will be a primary plot and story that exists and the player will be able to “end” the game, so some of the quests will be related to the main quest, but some might not be related at all.
The game is primarily driven by combat. Most quests will revolve around possible combat of some sort, like jailbreak, robbery, assassination, etc. The viewpoint will be 3rd person, and the player will have a crosshair to shoot and aim weapons in real-time.
The RPG elements are present in the player’s ability to customize character appearance, buy upgraded weapons, ammo, and items from doing quests, as well as a faction system being in place to track a player’s actions so the world will respond to them.

Location:
Consists of one huge map, with unique locations scattered throughout. Besides several towns of varying sizes, unique locations may include abandoned buildings, mines, farms, ranches, train station/railroad etc. There will be roads connecting all the major points.
The setting will also be persistent, with day/night cycles and various weather effects. There should also be travelers going from town-to-town occasionally, people walking about, children playing, dogs barking, bar fights breaking out, etc. basically anything that could be scripted at certain times to give the town a lively feel.
The benefits of the setting are realized by not having to recreate heavy vegetation and a huge cluster of modern buildings. The Torque engine is better suited to mainly outdoor, sparse environments. Generally, the art assets will be part of one main set and can be re-used again and again. More concentration and resources can be directed towards better textures, detail such as swaying prairie grass, rolling tumbleweeds, dust clouds, weather, etc.

Quests:
Instead of directing a huge chunk of development time and resource to level design, it will instead be aimed at creating quests of varying length, difficulty, reward, and the accompanying scripted sequences to compliment them. The assets for each quest should be designed so that most are not “spawned” into the world until the quest is accepted by the player. They will subsequently be “de-spawned” when done.
Quests will have to be accepted by the player to be activated, and it is then placed in their “quest journal” to keep track of vital details like names, locations, and times. Some quests will be based on time, meaning they either will not start or be available until a certain time or will be on a time limit. Almost all quests will garner a reward of some type, be it money, an item that can be pawned for money, useful unique items, or valuable information.

Faction:
Completing certain quests will have the important result of modifying the world’s perception of the player. If a player decides to play the outlaw and accept bank robbery and assassination quests, the townspeople will be increasingly wary of the player, sometimes retreating in fear when they see him or withholding information and/or quests from her. By the same token, the player may decide to take the path of justice and collect on wanted posters, defend the town from certain attacks, or bring lawbreakers to jail, eventually gaining the respect and admiration from everyone in town. Who knows, maybe even a sheriff’s job would be possible.

Weapons:
A wide variety of weapons from the era will be available at the local pawn/gun shop. Some weapons and items will only be available in certain towns. Ammunition is a depletable source, and will have to be bought and replenished (money sink). The player will be limited in how many weapons he can carry, generally to two handguns, a knife of some sort, and one rifle. More items and weapons can be kept on the player’s horse if she owns one, or in their storage space (rented room, house, or bank).

Mini-games:
If time allows, mini-games such as poker and blackjack will be set up in the town’s local brothel or bar to create a diversion for the player and an alternate way to make money.

### #26smiley4  Members

Posted 11 December 2002 - 10:34 AM

Cool idea, and well thought out for a draft, but I think that the pistols should be Smith & Wesson 6-shooters, the rifles should be Remingtons, and the knives can be homemade. All the firearms should have re-load time. (I know it sucks in the middle of a gunfight, but that''s what gives it a challenge.)

As for faction, you could go to a noutorious person''s house and prove yourself to become part of a local gang or you could collect the bounties on them instead.

I''ll be working on the layout for Tombstone, and one of the Miner''s Towns. And I''ll post a draft when I can. Peace.

### #27bishop_pass  Members

Posted 11 December 2002 - 04:54 PM

quote:
Original post by smiley4
I'd like to say that I'm realy excited about starting a project like this based on this theme.

Excellent!
quote:
Original post by smiley4
I'll be working on the layout for Tombstone, and one of the Miner's Towns. And I'll post a draft when I can. Peace.

Perhaps you could just hold your horses for a moment, and let me have some say here...

Roles to be filled for the development of a first class Western RPG are, or could be: (Note that one person might fill several roles, and more than one person might fill one role)

• Weapons and fighting mechanics designer
Create a fighting system which works. Build a large and diverse roster of weapons which are as accurate as possible with regard to real weapons of the era. Minimally, the roster should include:
• Pistols
• Rifles
• Shotguns
• Gatling guns
• Bow (and arrow)
• Spear/Javelin
• Tomahawk
• Axe
• Cannons
• Liquor bottles
• Rocks, bricks, lumber, etc.
• Chair
• Hammer
• Fist
• Feet
• Poison
• Dynamite
• Molotov cocktail

There should be detail with regard to guns. There is no such thing as a generic gun. Within the subcategory of pistol, there should exist a set of different pistols, each a recreation of a real pistol, with specs such as caliber, velocity, range, accuracy, etc. All methods of fighting should be addressed and detailed.

• Map and terrain generation
The map should, at the very least, capture the spirit of the area, with regard to terrain features characteristic of that area. Vegetation must be selected which is appropriate for the area. As an example, saguaros (the classic cacti) grow in the Sonoran desert, but not in the Colorado Plateau. The map might be pieced together from USGS digital elevation maps (DEMs) available for free. From there, it is the responsibility of the map designer to effectively place vegetation densities, roads, trails, and so on.

• Prop designer
Naturally, this designer works closely with the weapons designer and the architecture designer. All of these designers work closely with the 3d modelers and shader writers. An attention to detail is a must. An example of typical props might include:

• Carriages
• Stagecoaches
• General handtools
• Lockpick tools
• Barrels
• Furniture
• Cash registers
• Gallows
• Food
• Letter openers
• Clocks
• Safes
• Portable telescopes
• Packs
• Rope
• Crates
• Books
• Glasses (both for eyesight and drinking)
• Anvils

• Costume designer
This is a very important role to be filled. Like all of the prop designing roles, attention to detail is a must, and an appreciation of the era is required. Diversity is to be expected. Some costumes might include:
• Hats
• Trench coats
• Vests
• Pocket watches
• Shirts
• Ties
• Dresses
• Pants
• Boots
• Bandanas
• Longjohns

Additionally, all prop designers must work together to create items such as holsters, bandoliers and scabbards.

• Horse system designer
It is the job of the horse system designer to effectively integrate horses into gameplay. All of the features I have mentioned previously in this thread and the thread associated with horse riding would apply if possible. Some of the key elements with regard to the horse system are:
• Saddlery and tack: saddles, bits, bridles, saddlebags, reins, etc.
• Horse coloring: bays, buckskins, chestnuts, appaloosas, paints, grays, sorrels, palaminos, etc.
• Horse breeds: Arabs, Pintos, thoroughbreds, Morgans, quarters, etc.
• Conformation: stance, base wide/narrow, balance, eyes, nostrils, muscular build, etc.
• Health: conditioning, lameness, etc.
• Training: past and present.
• Skillset: gaits, backing, turning, stopping, pirouettes, jumping, catchability, cutting, etc.
• Demeanor: spookability, experienced events vs. unexperienced events.
• Fair treatment syndrome: sense of justice, revenge, etc.
• Rider skills: gaits, backing, turning, stopping, pirouettes, jumping, catching, rearing, mounted firearm use, etc.

• Gambling sytem designer
An effective card playing system needs to be worked out, both in terms of presentation and AI. The allowable games must be documented, including all variations, and the provision for AI players as well as real players. The real mainstay here is poker, plain and simple.

• Architecture designer
A study and replication of the architecture of the time is important. There are a few different designs which should be exploited, depending on the locale. These include refined clapboard sided structures, the rustic slipshod structures common in more primitive newly developed mining towns, adobe structures typically seen in towns such as Santa Fe, and stucco haciendas more common towards the Mexican border. The architecture designer must also work closely with the culture designers to produce structures which have purpose. Examples include banks, liveries, houses, jails, the sheriff's office, ranches, general stores, saloons, outhouses, the telegraph office, railway stations, assay offices, and so on.

• Weather and sky designer
The Western United States, specifically the Southwest, is often arid and dry, and often at high altitude. Because of the aridity and high altitude, stunning sunrises and sunsets are commonplace. And despite the aridity, summer thunderstorms are commonplace. Big billowing cumulus clouds often precede a shortlived yet powerful thunderstorm. A system which allows for dynamic stunning yet realistic weather is necessary. With regard to nighttime skies, the high altitude, low air pollution, low light pollution, and dry air provide for sweeping starfields at night.

• Western culture designer
The duties of this role are to gather together the ideas which western culture is comprised of. These include activities, occupations, operations, governmening methods, manner of speech, customs, and so on. Specific examples include: hangings, gunfights, law procedures, etiquette, etc.

• Indian culture designer
Like the western culture designer, the duties of this role are to explore, refine, and describe how Indian culture can effectively be modeled and integrated into the game, including making suggestions to many of the other designers with regard to design: for example, the Indian culture designer will guide the architecture designer with regard to teepees. He will guide the Western culture designer with regard to how the law viewed Indians, etc. And most importantly, he will as faithfully as possible, provide detail on the different Indian cultures which might exist in any given area, including their rituals, attitudes towards the white man, their population, etc.

• Mining culture designer
The mining culture designer's role is to detail and describe and integrate the operations of mining as it was often done in the Old West. Essentially, the components of gold and silver mines are to be discovered and described, including their functionality, social structure and phycical structure.

• Railway culture designer
The railway culture designer must effectively exploit the concept of the railway to maximum effect, providing opportunities for gameplay. The types of railway cars and locomotives of the era should be detailed, along with the accompanying infrastructure, such as water towers, stations, spur design, etc. Naturally, it is the railway culture designer's duty to suggest to and work out details with the weapons and fighting designer and the character dynamics programmer the prospects of fighting onboard trains, such as chases and fights on the top of moving railway cars.

• 3D Modeler
3D modelers must interact with the prop and culture designers for input, and they must interact with the programmers for limitations and requirements.

• Terrain rendering programmer
The terrain rendering programmer naturally works closely with the map generation phase, as well as the architecure, railway and mining designers, as well as with the general systems programmer. Numerous methods exist for efficient and realistic rendering techniques, such as quadtrees, ROAM, etc.

• Character dynamics programmer
More to be said...

• Weather dynamics programmer
More to be said...

• General systems programmer
More to be said...

The shader programmer naturally works closest with the 3D modelers and the prop designers.

• Sound effects and music creation and acquistion
More to be said...

• Sound effects programmer
More to be said...

• Technical director
More to be said...

• General gameplay desinger
More to be said...

[edited by - bishop_pass on December 12, 2002 4:23:59 PM]

### #28bishop_pass  Members

Posted 11 December 2002 - 05:37 PM

Oddly, it only just occurred to me that my photo gallery is essentially themed around the landscapes which are the settings for Westerns. It includes ghost towns, gulches, canyons, mountains, deserts, and cacti of the American Southwest.

### #29Iron Chef Carnage  Members

Posted 11 December 2002 - 05:58 PM

Smiley, as much as I love S&W guns, especially the older ones (Schofield, anyone? Sweeeeeet), everyone knows that only whores carried S&W''s in the old west. Get yourself a nice Colt.

I recommend setting it post-Civil War, to take advantage of the metallic cartridge and the better railroad system.

With regard to weapons, it is absolutely imperative that they be 100% based on historic gear. Nothing sucks more than a cowboy with a big old anachronism strapped to his thigh. No .44 Magnum, no .357, no swing-out cylinders or telescopic scopes, unless they''re hand-made by some engineer. These things just didn''t exist.

### #31smiley4  Members

Posted 12 December 2002 - 02:22 AM

Ouch! Perhaps I need to brush up on my American history (only whores had Smith & Wessons? I was just going by what''s popular in Kentucky''s Western Shops.)... And as for holding my horses, I''m a professional artist in the Army, so I''m used to putting my foot in my mouth and chewing. If you give me a project, I''m sure to complete it and complete it with at least standard quality. And for a project like this, standard quality with the diversive cohesion of these objects will put it damn well near industry standard. Notice, I''m only an artist who can draw well and is good with Photoshop. As for 3d landscapes and (my favorite hobby) character modeling, I''m still not getting paid to do that yet. I do have CAD experience, so drawing the layout for buildings should be a sinch aside from the research that will be needed for periodical style. And I believe that I can make such characters in DXF. and then import them into Lightwave and Animate from there.

### #32Useless Hacker  Members

Posted 12 December 2002 - 03:13 AM

Excellent game, a bit like Commandos.

### #33smiley4  Members

Posted 12 December 2002 - 07:27 AM

I feel special now. I've been quoted a few times. You think I'm stupid you REALLY think I'm stupid!!! lol

Anyway, that Desperados thing is cool, but it's an isometric view. To take it a step further, it should be a 3d a RPG/ACTION/FPS with 3PS option.

(Sorry if I use forceable language like "should", but it's the only garantee that my opinions are even consitered. If I was going in the corperate side, I would kiss a. It's just circimstancial language.) (Either that, or I've been watching too much TV.)

[edited by - smiley4 on December 12, 2002 2:38:42 PM]

### #34bishop_pass  Members

Posted 12 December 2002 - 09:31 AM

quote:
Original post by smiley4
Anyway, that Desperados thing is cool, but it''s an isometric view. To take it a step further, it should be a 3d a RPG/ACTION/FPS with 3PS option.

Agreed. I''m not a big fan of isometric views. About the only isometric view I could probably stomach would be a ''non-isometric'' view as in Neverwinter Nights, which actually exhibits true persepctive. First person is good, but there''s also something attractive about a 3rd person view - provided it had a dynamic camera, gave closeups, and so on.

### #35smiley4  Members

Posted 12 December 2002 - 09:33 AM

Also, if anyone is willing to pitch in to help me by Virtools Dev and Physics pack, feel free. It''s only 5K+, lol.

### #36bishop_pass  Members

Posted 12 December 2002 - 09:44 AM

quote:
Original post by smiley4
Also, if anyone is willing to pitch in to help me by Virtools Dev and Physics pack, feel free. It''s only 5K+, lol.

Since you''re the most enthusiastic person here (aside from me) which of the above roles that I posted would you be interested in? I''m not claiming to be project director of anything here at this moment - I''m merely seeing where people''s talents, interests and focus lie. I realize you already said that you do art, but, to be more precise, exactly which of the above roles could yyou fulfill?

### #37smiley4  Members

Posted 12 December 2002 - 10:17 AM

All of the design elements I could do. But to do all of them myself would require a lot of time for research and development to give the western elements a stylized approch. I mean let''s face it; if all the props, costumes, railroads, scenery, locations,and more importantly, the mods that can be customized are to work in cohesion; then they better not take up too much space on the hard drive.

As for anything with code, I don''t have a clue, but I believe I can pick up on a visualy-based programming system like Virtool Dev with its Physics plugin and let the programmers streamline the code to take up less room. With a little more practice, I can make realistic mods to use for such an environment, but my experience now is only based in animation.

To put it short, anything that requires that I impliment graphics, I can do. As for drawing up a diagram for interactivity, I can do it with a little help because I''m still rusty at it.

In any business, even if it''s just for the reward of having a demo to show to others, it''s best that we work as a team. When we are starting out like this, we should build off of each other''s expertice, opinions, and value each other''s input. What would we like in a game and what seems realistic? Once we have a plan, communication plays a bigger role than just our individual skills, because the more we communicate, the more we can learn and the more we can do with better quality than we thought we could. The instant we stop working as a team, the project itself suffers, thus producing shoddy work.

### #38smiley4  Members

Posted 12 December 2002 - 10:29 AM

I'm part of the creative side of the house. Now I COULD create music, but I would require a MIDI setup with editable programming, like a Clavinova, since my live performance talents are shight. I play by ear, had only about 4 years of off and on practice, and I've been out of practice for about a year, if that gives you a clue why. As for my expertice in sound editing, I can do adiquete work but I'm no where near as good as my neighbor. (To bad he doesn't want to make games...)

And thank you for saying that I'm enthusiastic, because I am. I've been wanting to express my creative side for a long time but not be in the foreground like a pop star. And making content for games is a way to do this. I'll draw my insperation from movies, books, and all other forms of media. But I will value the input I get from others and incorperate it into the progression of the content.

[edited by - smiley4 on December 12, 2002 5:36:48 PM]

### #39Polish  Members

Posted 12 December 2002 - 02:02 PM

bishop: You seem to already have a wealth of knowledge with regards to the era and various related subjects that I don''t come close to, but I''d like to do some research and contribute in some way if I can, if there is going to be a project here.

My skills are pretty much in the area of concept and 2-D art. Game design is something everyone can contribute to, and something I''ve been interested in and researching for a couple of years. So, doing research and design in areas like props, costumes, architecture, and transportation with accompanying concept sketches and possibly textures would be possible for me. I could also contribute to system and culture design, with maybe a limited role in map and terrain generation.

On to the subject.

Weapons and Fighting Mechanics:

Are you thinking strictly RPG-style turn/round-based, or more of a hybrid between FPS and RPG skills? Here''s what I think regarding the latter.

A large and diverse set of weapons that are as accurate as possible for the time frame is spot on. Realism would be the general tone governing all areas of system design, but fun first if it comes down to it.

Caliber, velocity, range, and accuracy with regards to firearms could depend solely on the type and quality of item, or be additionally governed further by player skills that are gained. An aiming reticle could exist, and it''s size would vary depending upon a gun''s caliber, quality (which could also affect accuracy and firing rate etc.). The more shoddy a gun is in quality, the wider the reticle, simulating the less-accurate spread of fired rounds, and in turn a better (more expensive) quality gun would have a tighter reticle.

The reticle could also be taken a step further to simulate realism and widen while running, jumping, moving, and becoming tighter when prone, kneeling, or just standing still.

Gained player skills could also control accuracy, firing rate, rate of decay, etc. Initially though, it seems like some of this overlaps, and may enter into an area of diminishing returns. More thought needed.

Hand-wielded and thrown weapons could do varying damage based on type, quality, and trained player skill as well, but the matter of actually hitting a target would again be ultimately controlled in real-time by the player.

Map and Terrain Generation:

The use of DEMs is a good idea. I don''t own it, but I''ve done a lot of research on the Torque engine, which would seem to be a good choice here for a couple reasons. Many people have contributed code sources like a foliage replicator, grass replicator (with swaying grass =), day/night cycle resources, starfields etc. Obviously some of this would probably have to be modified and/or optimized, but a lot of the groundwork has been laid due to the nature of the community. I like the idea of being able to design and "plug in" area-correct vegetation and paint the terrain. I''m not trying to sell anything though, and I''m the farthest thing from a coder, so take that as you will.

Props, Costumes, Architecture:

The links you''ve already provided are cool. A specific time frame would probably have to be nailed down before serious research begins and concept sketches are churned out.

Your description of the architecture makes it sound much more interesting than I had initially conceived. Sounds neat. It''s all in the details.

Various culture designs:

Would be extremely important to creating a believable dialog, and the primary asset of the writer/quest designers.

Horse System:

In my mind extremely important. The system should be simple and intuitive, but based on the cost/quality (breed, training etc.) of the animal and trained player skill.

I think at base level skill the horse should not ever be unresponsive totally, but will respond less-quickly to turning, running, etc. As player skill and animal cost/quality rise, so does responsiveness, higher jumps, more accuracy when using firearms, stopping speed, top speed. Some of the more intricate actions, such as cutting and pirouetting might be unattainable without the proper skill or quality/type of animals.

Different types of horses for different uses. Pack mule, work horse, speedy roan, another breed known for it''s jumping ability maybe, who knows. Some with less carrying capacity, some demand less upkeep (which ulitmately translates to money). Item decay could cause it to eventually break a leg, and have to be put down. =)

smiley: Your enthusiasm is inspiring, keep it up man.

Iron Chef absolutely nailed it on his last post. I totally agree.

I think the possibilities are enormous, and I''m clueless on why the genre has been effectively untapped so far. I think it also lends itself well to a MORPG type of format as well.

I don''t have many drawings scanned yet, but I could produce some random stuff if pressed. I have a couple images from another game project I worked on months ago.

### #40bishop_pass  Members

Posted 12 December 2002 - 04:06 PM

quote:
Original post by Polish
bishop: You seem to already have a wealth of knowledge with regards to the era and various related subjects that I don''t come close to, but I''d like to do some research and contribute in some way if I can, if there is going to be a project here.

Let''s assume that there tentatively is the makings of a project here, at this point, without obligating anyone to anything yet. In other words, I would like to encourage some actual work on the project, without truly formalizing it to the nth degree at this point.

I realize that a more formal agreement and spec is ultimately necessary, but it''s just a little bit premature. However, I also don''t want to preclude those who are interested (including myself) from actually acheiving real work in addition to mere discussion and thinking.

If anyone can do 3d modeling, I would love to see some prototypes, specifically related to horses and pistols, but in general, everything.

I can code, and I know quite a bit about 3d rendering. I personally would like to start in on some aspects of this whole thing.

But as was mentioned, communication is very important. For example, I don''t want to see anyone just start making 3d models of a horse without consulting with me. At the risk of sounding contradictory, I believe specs and communication are necessary before anyone can just start doing real work.

Is there a place where we could setup our own private forum for discussion, aside from EZBoard, because for some reason my username got messed up there.

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