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Member Since 05 Aug 2013
Offline Last Active Jan 23 2015 11:45 AM

#5205830 Some elements from my RPG story- again :P

Posted by Dodopod on 21 January 2015 - 02:17 PM

Let me get this straight: your central theme is that suffering is necessary for the good life. Sadly, the nature of humanity is to misguidedly eliminate it. Realizing this, the now-doomed nihilists of the future inflict this suffering on their predecessors to save the world from the lukewarm fate-worse-than-death. The protagonists oppose these attackers as a matter of course, but nonetheless believe in a strikingly similar ethics. A game presumably follows.


I think it could work, and without glossing over the philosophical implications. But what you need to think about is how the game's central dialectic can be embodied in your characters, plot, and gameplay. And if I'm reading you correctly, this is where you're having trouble.


For characters, I would think about the tension between suffering and happiness, and try to distinguish different ways your characters might conceive it. Are there people who believe in hedonism, that the people of the future live the most blessed of lives? Are there people who are willing to concede (or logically should) that the antagonists are in the right? Then think about why these potential characters have their beliefs, both in the sense of how they acquired them and what reasoning or emotions they use to justify them. (Even if you think they're wrong, try not to make them strawmen.) Then think about whether/how these beliefs shape their lives and personalities. When these character ideas become distinct enough, you should find yourself falling in love with a few of them. Or better, falling in love with the harmony between a them. These (or some of these) will be your main characters. Think of how these characters might change over the course of your story. You don't need many character arcs, but it's usually wise to have a couple. Give these characters backstories, relationships, names. Talk to them, and have them talk to other characters to try to get a feel for them.


I sometimes think of plot as a kind of inquiry. Each scene is like an experiment, and the way it plays out reveals something about an underlying dramatic question. Perhaps we come to see some sub-problem that needs to be solved before the question, or a part of the question is resolved. The dramatic question is intimately tied to the theme; to borrow from the Aristotelian idiom, the theme is the universal of which the dramatic question is a particular. The answer to the question embodies the theme, and this is picked up on by the discerning player. The simplest statement of the question might be "will the eternal war be stopped?", and the answer may be along the lines of "yes, because the antagonists' actions are unjustifiable" or "no, because humanity can't escape anomie." It's clear how these reveal the theme. An individual scene might begin with a provocative scenario: the protagonists confront the antagonists in the latter's world. Thus, we can see how the antagonists live, and hopefully the how will illustrate why it's so undesirable.


As for gameplay, I'll offer this advice, and you can work out why I'm giving it. Make the game hard.


I hope this helps. The characters, the plot, the setting, the gameplay, even individual lines and actions -- everything in a story is an interesting, imperfect instance of what it represents. Writers are told to show, not tell, because concretes make what could be impersonal, tense and instinctively relatable.

#5195896 Use .wma files in a game?

Posted by Dodopod on 02 December 2014 - 10:37 AM

Yeah I've been thinking about using OGG but I can't rely on people having that codec instslled can I? Would I not have to distribute that codec with my program/game? I'd prefer to use something that all Windows users have out of the box.

Yes, you would definitely want to distribute a Vorbis decoder with your game, but if you use the right libraries, all this comes down to is a .dll in the game's directory.

#5195693 A Good Story Idea for an RPG?

Posted by Dodopod on 01 December 2014 - 08:05 AM

So, is the crystal useful to anyone except the witch? It seems like a magical artifact used in the creation of the world should be a powerful weapon and/or tool, sought after by every power on the planet. At the very least, it should help the heroes out, now and then. Even the One Ring did that.


Does anyone else have a crystal? Do they have different powers? I heard you call the one in the story the Crystal of Banishment. If it's used to make the witch disappear, is there a Crystal of Repatriation that her minions can find to bring her back?

#5194279 using technology as magic

Posted by Dodopod on 23 November 2014 - 09:37 AM

If you combine complexity (think of chess) with fast reaction times (think of realtime combat), then you will have a very low frustration threshold.

It's really not that complex. The way I'm reasoning it, the player would get into a battle, drain their stamina, and burn some HP. Supposing the UI isn't terrible, they will realize what they're doing and form a heuristic to deal with it; namely, keep stamina low, but not empty. If the game is as fast as Quake, this could be a problem, but if it's a bit more tactical (like EVE Online, to use DI2agon's example) the player has more time to think about... well, tactics.


Turning to DI2agon, the universal rule of game design applies here: make a quick-and-dirty prototype, and see for yourself if it works. Like in science, talking about how it would be will get you so far, but you're not really a scientist until you test your hypothesis.


Honestly, what I'm more concerned about is that this system isn't complex enough. If magic, melee, and ranged attacks all drain stamina, then what differentiates magical attacks from the mundane, apart from cool particle effects? As for the setting, a fantasy universe with godlike beings who have sufficiently advanced tech is a great idea, but how would you get across to the players that it isn't magical to them?

#5186194 Good Emperor and bad rebels

Posted by Dodopod on 10 October 2014 - 10:24 AM

People like those they identify with, and identify with those whose motives they understand. Since the player is the emperor, you don't need to explain why they're doing anything -- at best, you're explaining something the player already knows, at worst you're telling them they did something they didn't do. The player will always feel they're justified, unless you throw them a massive curve ball.


The rebels, on the other hand, are a mysterious force by default. The player's first reaction will be that they did something to deserve punishment. In Civ, a city will revolt if the player lets its happiness drop too low. Because the player can see the happiness of a city and what goes into it, they realize they did something wrong. If there is no such cause at hand, however, players will tend to accept that the rebels are an obstacle to overcome. Again, in Civ, there are barbarians who consistently attack the player, but since their actions are never explained, the player just assumes they are part of the difficulty of the game.


That's more to do with the design side. As far as writing goes, if you want the rebels to seem evil, keep their motives vague, and emphasize the things that are bad for the player (like if the rebels are disrupting the economy, or want to depose the player). If you want the player to like them, explain their motives in depth.

#5184815 Are 2D side-scrollers too common?

Posted by Dodopod on 03 October 2014 - 01:25 PM

You could make a top-down metroidvania. You can still capture the feelings of exploration and gaining new abilities without the platforming. But I completely agree with Orymus3, there's still plenty of space to be explored in side-scrolling shooter/platformer metroidvania type games. Just maybe don't make one about a female bounty hunter with super missiles, and screw attacks.

#5183488 Idea for 2-D RPG

Posted by Dodopod on 28 September 2014 - 09:09 AM

I can agree with this, as long as you are exploring the concept in a different manner (in other words, adding originality). If you find that your story is too similar to those of others, I recommend checking out TV Tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage) for some interesting ways of mixing things up.

Yes, because browsing an index of other people's ideas is a great way to be original. It's impossible to make this not sound sarcastic, but really, it's not.


For one, tropers have the habit of writing 'Playing With' pages where they document every possible use of a trope even if it's never actually been used in anything. For another, every possible spelling of every possible chord has probably been written down in some music book, yet music is still original because of the near-infinite ways of combining chords, and the meanings imbued in every work by its composer. Even further, it's easy to have ideas, but at birth they are only dilute semblances of what they may be. Some of this potential may be realised in reflection, some through experimentation, and some by constraints. But ideas crystallize in no more palpable way than when reading another's words, and finding them already within one's own heart.


I don't feel that originality -- being different from others -- is the important thing in art. Most of the best works ever created in any medium are mere developments on established genres and tropes. And trying to be different for the sake of being different leads one into pointless obfuscations and cliched artiness. Rather, I support originality in the sense that the origin of one's work is one's own artistic sense, regardless whether other people have thought similarly. People know what cliches they are tired of, and what tropes they feel are unfairly scarce. To avoid the former and to seek the latter is sufficient for artistry, provided it is done with due reflection and earnestness.

#5183144 Idea for 2-D RPG

Posted by Dodopod on 26 September 2014 - 09:28 AM

the player would have to choose "chapters" that would feature one or more of those characters.

it would move along through "chapters" very much like an old-timey JRPG much like the original Suikoden.

t would feature party fights and individual fights

The player will also have to take action to advance all six characters by buying or finding new armor, sharpening weapons (no need to equip new ones) and developing skills with a trainer.

Each main character will have skills that they share and skills that are all together specific to their character. Blue Angel might share the "Heal" skill with others, but the skill "Angel Dust" is a skill only she can perform. The player will have to advance this skill so that it will become more powerful and keep up with the pace of her enemies who are also advancing.

Reread your post, but pretend someone else wrote it. If this ^ really intrigues you, make it a game; if the other parts do, make it a comic. Regardless, remember to fail fast and loud.

#5179607 Question: 16px versus 32px sprites

Posted by Dodopod on 11 September 2014 - 09:14 AM

Generally, what I would suggest is that you try both. Maybe do a sample screenshot or just a couple of sprites in each style, and then compare. See how long the one style takes compared to the other and which one you like better.

#5179371 Question: 16px versus 32px sprites

Posted by Dodopod on 10 September 2014 - 11:07 AM

Personally, 32px sprite, 8bpp indexed color is my absolute favorite style for 2d games. I don't think I've ever actually considered the relative times of making the two. On the one hand, the '4 times' figure seems off, since drawing doesn't take much longer for 32px, and blocking in colors should take roughly the same amount of time. On the other, I'm sure it takes a lot longer, since 32px sprites demand shading and detail and sometimes hand dithering.

#5179222 Designing the Overworld

Posted by Dodopod on 09 September 2014 - 09:38 PM

I would choose the first option and make the map locations like normal levels. That way the player only has to learn 2 interfaces (levels and the world map) instead of 3. I don't think running into the edge of the level would ruin immersion for anyone, at least as long as you make it reasonably clear where the edge is. For example, if there's a gate or a path leading out of the area, but not if it's just an open plain and going too far in any direction leads the player back to the map.

#5153664 Expanding an outer space game

Posted by Dodopod on 14 May 2014 - 04:18 PM

Why 35 ships? Why not let the player go until they die?

#5153662 Names of stats (competence & corruption)

Posted by Dodopod on 14 May 2014 - 04:14 PM

You could also change competence to ability or aptitude, which might be better than Shane's suggestion since a dishonest henchman isn't corrupt if they only lie when the player tells them to.

#5153327 List of Narrative Gameplay Options

Posted by Dodopod on 13 May 2014 - 10:03 AM

Have you read Polti's 36 Dramatic Situations? He lists more situations than you do (you have 21 if I'm counting right) but some of them probably aren't suitable for translation into gameplay; in other words, I'm challenging game designers to translate them anyway. Regardless, you will most likely find not only that his list contains additional possibilities, but that two or more of his Dramatic Situations fall under one of your Narrative Gameplay Options or combine more than one or even that your list has things he never thought of! To give some examples, I believe your first option -- "Player must acquire an item / a person" -- encompasses Polti's "Daring Enterprise", "Obtaining", and "Ambition", and that "Player must develop skill in a particular field" has no analogue in Polti (probably because he never read a Shonen manga).


What this suggests is that neither your options nor his situations comprise the elements of narrative, gameplay or otherwise. This in no way invalidates your enumeration, of course, it only implies a certain status -- namely that it is informal, or to put it differently, that it is fine for a bit of gameplay to fall between or outside of your archetypes, if it fulfills its function/s well. Naturally, if you can work your list into a definitive periodic table, or if someone else develops one, this status would change (I doubt this possibility, and perhaps you do too, but there is a strain of game design that sees itself as a proto-science a la alchemy in the age of Boyle).

#5153156 Dialog Mechanics

Posted by Dodopod on 12 May 2014 - 04:38 PM

Dodopod, something like that, but not quite... deeper in the background, but I want to make gui simple so that you would maybe only get those 1-word stage directions on the surface but underneath that the choices that you've made in the past and what you've thought/said about these topics/people are taken into into account to weight what your character does.

So does the player always know (or have a very good idea) what their character is going to say after any one choice? And if so, how? To take your example,


there might be a selection of honest or deceptive in the options and what that means would depend on what the characters positions are... If you've said that you agree with what this person said in the past and then you select to be deceptive you'd say you disagree for example.

What if the player forgets that they've previously agreed with this person? Does the game simply ask the player whether to be honest or deceptive per se, and if they don't remember what their character would consider honest or deceptive, they're forced to gamble with their words? Re-reading your post, it seems like you want to give the player a menu where all their character's opinions are spelled out (or at least the relevant ones, which would make it easier if the player is looking for one in particular) and can be changed. Is this correct?