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## A new outlook on rpg's....

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34 replies to this topic

### #1Solthar  Members

Posted 31 July 2000 - 10:31 AM

Most RPG''s today have one thing in common -- Good Vs. Evil. If you take a look at it, it''s actually quite a nice setup with many possible conflicts; nevertheless, it has been overused. Myself, I love the fallout series because you have so many options available to you, you can become evil or good, as you so desire. My idea is to have a game from the villans perspective. Take that classic conflict and flip it around to Evil vs. Good. Lets use a simple ''start as evil person and then work to take over world'' kind of deal. Basically you would start out as an evil person (idea: no classes, anyone can do anything (but need decent stats to do something well)) Since you''re evil, there would be no classical monsters, and you might have anything from robbing travellers to setting up your own band of rouges or international evil agency to defending you''re throne from other evils with greedy eyes ( or eye, depending on the race ) I''ve got a lot more ideas in this regard, but i want to know what everyone thinks of this ----------------------------- "Beware the programmer with a screwdriver..."

### #2dwarfsoft  Members

Posted 31 July 2000 - 11:36 AM

The good vs evil is all dependant on your point of view... some might see it the other way around, but it is there, and it is a theme, and you can use it nicely to design a game. And if you''re me, you can twist the whole thing around into being a contradiction and a cool story that spreads the message "End Goblin Genocide" . Thats my \$0.02

-Chris Bennett ("Insanity" of Dwarfsoft)

Check our site:
http://www.crosswinds.net/~dwarfsoft/
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made due to popular demand here at GDNet :)

### #3Landfish  Members

Posted 31 July 2000 - 07:34 PM

Thanks for the plug. Did I start a movement or something?

======
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
-Socrates

"Question everything. Especially Landfish."
-Matt

### #4dwarfsoft  Members

Posted 31 July 2000 - 07:43 PM

I have been moved by your plight and thus have taken a vow to remove the black and white "blatant" evil from my game and I shall spread word amongst those who do not understand or know better... Yes, I spose you have started a movement... I have been spreading the saying (with a link to the thread) on Gamasutra and Xgames3d recently ... I really do agree that the black and white evil is not as black and white as people portray. But We shall continue this in the RIGHT thread

End Goblin Genocide because NPC''s are people too!

-Chris Bennett ("Insanity" of Dwarfsoft)

Check our site:
http://www.crosswinds.net/~dwarfsoft/
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http://www.egroups.com/group/NPCAI/
made due to popular demand here at GDNet :)

### #5Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*  Guests

Posted 31 July 2000 - 07:50 PM

quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft

End Goblin Genocide because NPC''s are people too!

Damn right, brother. Just be careful they don''t start calling you a "landfish Groupie" like they do with all the intelligent people on this board! (Just kidding! Sheesh.)

As for good vs. evil, I thought that that was a stigma in video games. I might be wrong, but I would like to see the medium evolve into more complicated plots... those that question the nature of good and evil, not assume them. That doesn''t mean that your old good Vs. evil plots aren''t cool, just that there''s a lot more we can do as well.

### #6dwarfsoft  Members

Posted 31 July 2000 - 09:24 PM

LOL! Note that in my post that I do not condem good vs. evil in games. What I said was that it is too black and white in games... It should be difficult to draw a line between what is good and what is evil and you can have some people who are classed as good but act nasty and you can also have evil guys that act nicely. I think that would at least make the player think about what they go around killing anyway

-Chris Bennett ("Insanity" of Dwarfsoft)

Check our site:
http://www.crosswinds.net/~dwarfsoft/
Check out our NPC AI Mailing List :
http://www.egroups.com/group/NPCAI/
made due to popular demand here at GDNet :)

### #7Cadet Random  Members

Posted 31 July 2000 - 10:31 PM

Ummm.....

"Dungenon Keeper. You''re the Monster"

You''re continuing a movement, not starting one Landfish

But it''s still a good movement

Tho, rather black-and-white, it makes it white-and-black really. What would be nice is gray-and-gray. Or maybe possibly lightgray-and-darkgray. Like, taking the RPG, each character has a point of view that is kind of okay. Of course, characters will have their opinions of other characters, but if the designer kept it clear that these were merely people''s opinions (by making known a bunch of differing opinions) i think it would add depth to typically 1D characters

Sam
Space Cadet''s DJ Random, Thinker, and Geek at heart.

### #8dwarfsoft  Members

Posted 31 July 2000 - 10:57 PM

OK.. Dungeon Keeper you are the keeper (monster if you will), so you see evil as the NASTY intruders that are threatening those cute little gold diggers of yours (imps) . That is the perspective that I talked about (somewhere anyway ).

My definition is grey-scale (I have gone up from monochrome ) and so would like for it to be hard to distinguish good from evil. You could be attacked by a human on the streets, but if they are not one of the so called "evil races" then they aren''t evil right? But they were attempting to harm you! So they are evil right? But by harming them you are breaking the law! So what do you do? Run to a guard and report the SOB, or beat the crap out of him and risk imprisonment. At least then your murder based system wouldn''t be so clear cut as "move and die!", it would provoke thought in a PC Which is good right?

We need mentally challenging games, thats what hooks people, something they actually have to LOOK at the screen for and LISTEN to the sound for and generally make use of their senses and their brain. Fighting Diablo in Diablo II was not like this... I was not even looking at him while I typed messages to my friend with one hand while keeping the mouse steady and clicking with the other... Not really fun, but it did get the adrenalin going

-Chris Bennett ("Insanity" of Dwarfsoft)

Check our site:
http://www.crosswinds.net/~dwarfsoft/
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http://www.egroups.com/group/NPCAI/
made due to popular demand here at GDNet :)

### #9Paul Cunningham  Members

Posted 31 July 2000 - 11:15 PM

How about a Dr Jeckle and Mr Hyde scenario where the evil fella is also a good fella. Or maybe he has a split personality where one day he''s good and the not so good. That''s black and white with a twist.

One thing i''d like to see is a RPG where both sides are bad and your caught in the middle deciding who you should side with (if need be). Your character doesn''t have to represent good or evil, maybe just an ordinary individual explorer trying to make ends meet. You get moral choices like whether to keep the battle alive to make more money or help end it for some other tempting reason.

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

### #10dwarfsoft  Members

Posted 31 July 2000 - 11:35 PM

I recall a certain game called Might and Magic VII (You may have heard of it ) which...

*SPOILER*
...got you to side with either the elves or the humans... I don''t know if it differs with which side you choose, but I chose to fight on the elves side (cained off those humans ) but I gave the item (since forgotten what) to the queen...
*END SPOILER*

But anyways, back on my good-vs-evil with a twist (of lemon?) the idea that the PC plays the game, chasing the evil, kills goblins, has a merry xp fest... reaches the end, finds out that he does have a split personality, but one where he sees all other humans as being another race (in this case goblins) and so finds out that it was *HE* who slew his wife (NPC... this comes from another thread though ) which was the reason WHY he wen''t out slaying goblins in the first place .

Hehe... I am thinking of exactly how I can cope with the split personality and where his personality changes and whether or not the goblin town (actually both goblin and human since they are both one in the same) should actually be located on the map at a different place from the human one (see last comment ). This would work OK if the map was just in the players mind, which is already deranged as it is ..

Any thoughts people?

-Chris Bennett ("Insanity" of Dwarfsoft)

Check our site:
http://www.crosswinds.net/~dwarfsoft/
Check out our NPC AI Mailing List :
http://www.egroups.com/group/NPCAI/
made due to popular demand here at GDNet :)

### #11Roland Moritz  Members

Posted 01 August 2000 - 12:06 AM

Woohoo, definitely a cool idea, a game with a totally demented main character, I like it!

--------------------------

Ghosts crowd the young child's fragile eggshell mind...

### #12dwarfsoft  Members

Posted 01 August 2000 - 12:15 AM

Cool.... It''s an idea that I have been throwing around the forums this week... I thought of it as a combination of Diablo II and Fight Club (these were general themes, not definative story ). But anyways, as always I am devoted to NPCAI and as such NPC''s are going to be a big part of the game... In order to get the PC involved immensely in the game, they are going to have to get attached to the NPC that we take away from them (another idea I have been throwing around of late). Which requires fairly capable AI to do... Lets hope that the NPCAI project pulls through (I expect it to.. but I am in too deep to take a step back and analise the progress objectively). I would like to think of my game being a learning experience for PC''s everywhere, not necessarily a game but a lesson... There are concequences for actions that you take in real life, and as such there should be concequences for actions in a game...

Oh... one more thing: End Goblin Genocide because NPC''s are people too!... two things that I have learned greatly from merged into one concise saying

-Chris Bennett ("Insanity" of Dwarfsoft)

Check our site:
http://www.crosswinds.net/~dwarfsoft/
Check out our NPC AI Mailing List :
http://www.egroups.com/group/NPCAI/
made due to popular demand here at GDNet :)

### #13Paul Cunningham  Members

Posted 01 August 2000 - 03:04 AM

What about characters entering dreams and the player actually see''s the dreams and interacts in them? Like the dream world is related to the real/game world. Imagine the wierd things you could have in the game

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

### #14dwarfsoft  Members

Posted 01 August 2000 - 03:18 AM

Hehe... I like it! And then you hit the player with the idea that he is not dreaming it but actually DOING it! I REALLY LOVE IT! Thanx Paul... This is working out REALLY good, now I just have to think of a way of harmlessly getting the player used to the dreaming thing, as well as playing.

Maybe, he is chasing this evil thing because the NPC''s (god bless ''em ) have heard rumors that there is something evil. The PC has told them that he has been having nightmares, they blame it on the evil (logical, maybe one of the other NPC''s had had nightmares or something ). Then he goes seeking evil, whenever he "sleeps" he dreams, and he has to fight in the dreams (info given to him by some other shamanic NPC ). He has to battle the evil in his concious mind and his non-concious mind. He goes around killing all the evil that he wants and finds destruction everywhere. You could have a battle where there are human NPC''s vs. "evil race" NPC''s where the player is fighting on what he thinks is the human''s side (really the other race). The only justification for the battle is rumor (that they are causing it). That way the PC will still see dead bodies of Goblin and Man alike, but will not know which he actually killed.

Maybe you could work it such that the real people attacking our anti-hero in his dreams are actually bandits, and when they turn up all dead, the NPC townfolk can blame it on the goblins... and then the PC can go out and slay actual goblins (maybe reward a little more for doing this, just to get the PC sucked into doing some more killing).

I am thinking that to start with he can just slay cows in belief that they are goblins. Then the slaughter is blamed on either goblins or aliens . Reminds me of that secret cow level in Diablo II... what a massacre

Hmm.. There seems to still be a problem with hiding the truth from the player. It would start to appear obvious if dead people started popping up after a violent "dream", so how do we combat this? I am really needing some sleep now, so I think I will see what my dreams hold, and hopefully no dead bodies pop up tomorrow morning

Again I have tended to rant ... Good idea though Paul, thanx.

-Chris Bennett ("Insanity" of Dwarfsoft)

Check our site:
http://www.crosswinds.net/~dwarfsoft/
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http://www.egroups.com/group/NPCAI/
made due to popular demand here at GDNet :)

### #15Paul Cunningham  Members

Posted 01 August 2000 - 04:49 AM

As in, hiding the fact that the character has lycanthopy from the player? That''s a hard one. It could be done in a FPS because the player doesn''t see themself. In a text based MMORPG it could also word this way. But from a top view or similar, erk! And then there''s the storyline issue where the player clues it together which i think is what your talking about Chris. I think the storyline could be cleverly managed in a way as not to give to much away. The hardest bit will be the graphics.

As we were talking about using dreams then this would have to be the resolution to the problem or at least a good one worth looking into. When the character is in dream mode everything would have to look different. The enemies would have to have some sort of generic apperence. And then you''d have to motivate the player to go on some sort of killing spree. Or as you said, hide the fact from them that thats what they are doing. Hmmm possiblities, possabilities...

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

### #16dwarfsoft  Members

Posted 01 August 2000 - 07:05 PM

Yeah, The only way I can think of doing it is using the dream method. Just start the game (or "learning experience" I prefer to call it ) with the dream state, and then an NPC comes to that player and initiates a conversation where the player tells them about the dream state, and the NPC gives "opinions" on what is happening and how to remedy the situation. Reminds me of some books I have read (by Katherine Kerr I believe ) where the character is battled in their dreams (quite a good set of books).

This also did not have dreaming as the only method of fighting. To initiate a battle, to provoke the initial fight (if the PC conciously decides NOT to fight) then (taking the cow idea ) they could charge the PC. As if the first thing the PC is not going to do is fight them? Based on RPG''s the PC fights. You could also have a curfew where the guards approach the PC and get their butts whipped .

For RPG, I think that you just go to bed (as in Might and Magic VII) and then the dream state kicks in, then you must get the PC to return back to the place where they started (slept). Using the Katherine Kerr idea, this could be done by saying that the Aetheric double is being drained (by such battle) and must return to the host for rest (ie... return to your body ). Using a similar idea about the aetheric double, the silver cord (also from KK ) could lead them back to their body. They aren''t really doing this out of body experience, but they *think* they are, all they are really doing is getting up in the middle of the night whilst in a completely demonic state of mind and blindly hacking people to death .

Graphics aren''t too much of a problem, have a "Wake" set and a "Dream" set. In the dream set, the buildings are obscured and portrayed as black towers (I get this idea from Murmandamus'' black tower in Raymond E. Feist... Silverthorn I think the book was) or imovable objects, maybe not have all the "baddies" portrayed as the same race, but have different races to identify different objects. Then in the dream, let the player see all the dead people there, surrounded by the "evil" races. Then let the battle commence .

I think it could be done nicely if you choose a random direction for the isometric map to be facing. You have a general direction that you display in the day (like the diablo iso engine ) and you flip it for the dream state. Maybe use graphics to portray very Abstract images (make some freaky non-sensical walls, or a similar look as the "Arcane Sanctuary" where the effect does not look 2D OR 3D .. well, not much anyway ).

If you don''t understand the iso flipping then I can explain it better, but I shall continue (phew... this is getting long ). From a storytelling point of view though, this it is going to be tricky to keep facts hidden. We should brainstorm some ideas here so we can see what should work and what wont. Maybe there should be false evidence spread around the scene of the massacre that points towards certain things. I think that the PC would need to be occupied during the day by actual things to kill (maybe angry warthogs, vampire bats, charging rhino?) Something that can hurt them but is not defined as an "evil" creature. They just think that they are.

Maybe as the game/LE (learning exp. ) goes on, their mentality starts to infect their mind, and they start seeing certain things as the evil races which they hunt (this oughto throw them off the trail) but it would have to be at certain distances from where anyone (NPC) can "see", so it would be a looong distance from where the town is. This could become more frequent as they kill more in the dream state. Eventually, they kill too much and the entire town and everyone in it becomes "evil" and so the PC has a choice, fight or leave. If they fight, they kill more and become more demonic. If they leave, the town finds out what is going on, and goes out on a search. Therefore; The end will always be a fight .

There should be someone who doesn''t care what the PC has done, who should tell them of the options (an NPC who loves them, or who IS evil).

I think I have thought enough I shall go and share this idea with my g/f now

-Chris Bennett ("Insanity" of Dwarfsoft)

Check our site:
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made due to popular demand here at GDNet :)

### #17ahw  Members

Posted 01 August 2000 - 10:33 PM

Hello people.

Well, first off, some sources of inspiration you might find useful.
First, any novel by Philip K. Dick. This guy consistently makes the weirdest plots I have ever seen, most of the time with twists so big you jsut can''t see them coming until it''s too late. "Substance Mort" (Substance Death ?) is for instance, tells the story of a rug squad infiltrated cop that will slowly plunge into the evils of drug addiction. Becoming evil to destroy evil, very interesting topic. Another of his novels Ubik, tells the story of a group of players (heroes, I mean) that go on a mission, and lose contact with the base, until they realise that ... but you''ll have to read to see
If you are a bit worried that you might not like it, then remember Total Recall ? He wrote it ! Oh and Blade Runner ? Yep, he did it as well (there is a major twist at the end, in the original story : the hero IS an android).

Other good cinematographic references ? Well, I think the latest would be "the 6th Sense" and "Fight Club". Fight club works on a visual trick, but the story is more "meaningful" IMO. the 6th Sense is just perfectly filmed, if you see the movie again, you will see that Bruce Willis never talks to anyone else than the boy.

Why do I mention those movies and novels ? Well, I thought they would give you good ideas of how a twisted reality can be properly described without the reader knowing about it until all is revealed.
There is a very interesting thing about this kind of plot as well, it''s the alienation of the individual.
When all is unclear, where does good and bad stands.
The great problem of a manichean opposition of Good vs Evil, is that it doesn''t require any effort, which is IMHO the real evil.
It''s not about things having an absolute value, it''s more about making choices and assuming them, taking responsibilities. Killing in the name of something, for instance, is a very pervert way of not taking responsibility, an excuse. If you ahev a brain, a conscience, morals, judgment, then why not use them ? That, IMO, is much more a crime than whatever the action you are doing is.

Now how do you apply this to game design ?
Personaly the solution I would use is the dilemna. Say you are a french guy during WWII. The germans invade your side of the country, they don''t really treat you that bad, but hey, they invaded you country. So you decide to becom a resistant and go in the Maquis. You are then a Good resistant, as opposed to an Evil collaborator. That would be the simplistic view. Very annoying, and judgemental. Now, say that your family is captured by some nazis the day you are supposed to blow up a bridge. Do you choose your family or your mission ? Not that tragic.
Something better : say you are captured, and your only chance is to give your fellow resistants, if you don''t they kill your family, but not you. If you do give your companions, they will probably kill many moe people, and surely their families as well, they''ll free you and your family, though.
And what about the assumed collaborator that helps you out without any reason. I remember this movie where the prostitutes help a family flee, but at the end of the war get shaved as collaborators ... :/
Or the resistant that decide to give his comrades because he couldn''t resist torture (rather than the traitor selling his friends for money, too cliche), how would you judge him ? What would you have done ?
this kind of tricks is nice to blur the too sharp line between the two sides. It makes you either makes a crucial choice that you''ll have to assume for the rest of your life, assuming their is no in-between choice; or on the other hand, makes you think about the middle line (you couldn''t really give all your comrades, nor sacrifice your family, but maybe there is a way around ? Or you get saved by your friends before you have to decide ?)

The rule is, make them think. Think before you act. If you want people killing wthout thinking, then make a FPS.

As well, I''d like to point out Star Wars as a ver good example of the problem of Good vs Evil. Jedi knights are the Good guys, Sith are the Bad boys. But the rest of the world is in between. Jedi knights have a much harder time getting powerful, and sticking to their beliefs, but in the end they reach a higher power, as well as a way of life that goes with it. On the other side, the Dark Side gives great powers with ease, but the price to pay is greater, though not obvious. It''s kind of nice to make extreme morals stand out of the crowd.

For more discussions on good and bad, you would have to consult stuff about Ethics, especially Kant and his writings about Deontology, or the Teleology stuff written by the opposing side, especially Utilitarianism.

youpla :-P

### #18dwarfsoft  Members

Posted 01 August 2000 - 10:59 PM

Good post, very informative. Games that make you think keep you entertained for longer. What I was eventually hoping to implement in A game (not the one mentioned before, because this would cause more problems than anything else) was grouping, and so you have a team of people (you and the NPC''s) and say you go charging off into battle? Well, who did a background check on their NPC? The NPC does not aid you in your slaughter of goblins, instead yells out "End Goblin Genocide!" And charges you from behind. Hehe... I would like the player to survive to heal up and go back to town and count this as a lesson

The other option I could think of was, make goblins *SMART*... get one or two to get the player sucked into following them, have a rather large group of more goblins massed offscreen somewhere, then the PC eventually gets to the goblin, who calls a charge... *SPLAT*... no more PC . I would like this to happen if the PC tried to attack the initial 1 or 2 goblins, if you didn''t attack them, then you could trade or befriend or even let them join your group (see above)

-Chris Bennett ("Insanity" of Dwarfsoft)

Check our site:
http://www.crosswinds.net/~dwarfsoft/
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http://www.egroups.com/group/NPCAI/
made due to popular demand here at GDNet :)

### #19ahw  Members

Posted 02 August 2000 - 01:37 AM

One name comes to mind : Warren Spector.
This guy was in the Underworld as well as the Ultima saga, the only games I know of that actually made you realise that appearances are dangerous. In Underworld I still remember killing one of the ghouls in the crypts, only because I got afraid of the damn thing coming at me walking in a weird fashion, and looking like, well, a ghoul. Stupid me, I lost all chances to talk with any of its friends afterwards ... reload.
Same for the goblins that are not good nor evil, rather just as stupid as any humans. And the Trolls.

Same for the Gargoyles, a race of red skinned tall people with big jaw, horns, and glowing eyes... but as civilised as any of the humans hunting them down.

If I can ever start coding an RPG (well, I can, but it''s very difficult for me to do anything on my own, as I get easily distracted on yet-another-idea ) I want ALL races in the game to be playable. I am tired of seeing so many orks arounds, but not being able to play one, while the only humans I''ll ever meet will be my party NPC and some plot-related people :/

youpla :-P

### #20dwarfsoft  Members

Posted 02 August 2000 - 01:46 AM

I definitely want ANY race playable in my RPG, once I have finished the Learning Experience first. At least then I will have an engine to use for the RPG itself. NPC''s are also to be a major part of my RPG... Hence the reason for NPCAI... We also need equality between races!

So... what are we now all protesting for in games?

• End Goblin Genocide!
• NPC''s are people too!
• Equality between the races!
• Give us a story!

Is that list definative enough? I think so... Except Linearity vs. Interactivity, but that could go under "Give us a story"

-Chris Bennett ("Insanity" of Dwarfsoft)

Check our site:
http://www.crosswinds.net/~dwarfsoft/
Check out our NPC AI Mailing List :
http://www.egroups.com/group/NPCAI/
made due to popular demand here at GDNet :)

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