Game Design.

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by Tycell, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. Tycell

    Tycell Still Mildly Glowing

    Oct 12, 2004
    I was reading through the "New Fallout 3 Screen Shots" thread a moment ago, its way off topic, now everyone is talking about game designs and how the gaming market is so set. No one likes to take risks (like interplay did when they made Fallout 1) and try out new things. Games have become very "off the hanger" in that most major companies these days have to make games in a tried and tested manner because otherwise the investors wont go for it. Zero risk also means very little originality and new frontiers being broken.

    So I put this foward to the community;

    If you would design a game, turn based and set on a PnP basis, how would you design the game? What would it feature, what things would you include in it. Please try to think beyond a "Fallout 3, but proper" answer. The game could be about anything.

    To help with your answer I will introduce the 'MoSCoW system', some of you may have already heard of it. Simple idea, you list things about or in the game catagorised in one of the following four options.

    Must have, - What the game must include.

    Should have, - What the game should include.

    Could have, - What you would put in the game if it becomes a practical option.

    Would have, - What you would put in the game if it were possible.

    Dont try and restric your answers though, feel free to speak out about any ideas you would include for a turn based PnP game.
  2. Nimrod

    Nimrod It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Sep 24, 2007
    I think the big bitch in current RPG releases is everyone is trying to reach the console crowd that has outgrown us old-schoolers. The majority seems more interested in pretty explosions than game play.

    Must Have:
    Replay value!! I think this has been purposefully phased out to keep gamers spending their money rather than spending months (or years, or decades) on one game.

    As much PC customization as possible, including appearance.

    A good and engaging story (well, duh).

    Should Have:
    Stats/attributes/skills etc. that are reflected in the game. The Fallout series did this nicely with the stupid character only being able to speak in grunts. This could be expanded.

    Con Man: "Coin pouch inspection!"
    Character roughly as smart as your average house cat: "Here you go, I think you'll find everything is in order."
    Con Man: "I can't believe that worked!" (Runs off with all your money.)

    Also a decent 'evil' path that doesn't punish you unduly. I don't tend to play evil characters, but I don't like the fact that trying to be evil generally means you miss out on a lot of the game and/or are unable to really complete it. What if I think Arroyo is a stupid place and I feel like letting them starve if they can't take care of themselves? What if I don't feel like walking across the street to buy a book for someone? That means I lose out on experience. Basically, the evil character is screwed.

    Could Have:
    A world that moves on with or without your intervention. It too often seems that NPC's are completely incapable of doing anything themselves. I know that needing the PC's help is basically the core concept of quests, but sheesh.

    Would Have:
    Some basic "reality" concepts that are balanced enough that they don't become distracting. Ultima: Serpent's Isle (I think that's the title) had the danger of freezing to death when in the cold northlands. Sadly, this became more of an annoyance, but could have been tweaked so it gave a sense of reality and danger without becoming a chore. Hunger, thirst, etc could also be implimented with care. The old ASCII game ADOM had a good hunger system with the exception that you could starve to death in the middle of a fight. Good idea, not so good execution.

    NPC party members that are people and not just grunts with no real personality. Planescape: Torment raised the bar on this very high.

    Just a few ideas off the top of my head.
  3. Sorrow

    Sorrow So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Feb 9, 2006
    Must have, - What the game must include.
    1. Works on my computer.
    2. Isometric view.
    3. Semi-realistic mechanics.
    4. Ability to make a lot of different characters and roleplay them meaningfully with stats affecting conversation options, etc.
    5. Replayability.
    6. Narration.
    7. Good writing in general.
    8. Interesting and consistent world.
    9. Good, believable NPCs.

    Should have, - What the game should include.
    3. Need to survive - food, water, etc.

    Could have, - What you would put in the game if it
    becomes a practical option.
    2. Living world like in U7.

    Would have, - What you would put in the game if it were possible.
    1. Good artistic level of graphics.

    Not to mention dying after a fight, because the random generator didn't create any corpses XD .
  4. Tycell

    Tycell Still Mildly Glowing

    Oct 12, 2004
    Nice stuff Nimrod, you add some valid points.

    EDIT: Wow nice stuff Nimrod. One or two of the options are specific to you but thats ok. :) Nice stuff.

    I suppose I'll add mine in a few of my ideas next. :)

    Must have:

    = Freedom!

    Somthing which is sorely lacking in a lot of games out there today. Deus Ex showed us FPS can be open ended and have many different routes and choices. Like in Fallout where you can go anywhere and try just about anything you want. No set path on where the player should go next, rather guidance and suggestions on where to achive their quests and objectives. Freedom to make a character how you see fit; fight, talk, trade or sneak you way past enemies.

    = Mature content.

    Dont get me wrong, I dont mean specifically sexual content or masses of violence (just for the hell of it). Fallout is a mature game for older people, too many games these days are trying to be 'family' games where people of all ages can pick them up and play. I think games are too much targeted at younger audiances these days. Simple rule of thumb; If adults play and like it, kids will want to play it. Not nessisarily the other way around.

    = A clearly defined, believable and realistic, enemy.

    Like the super mutants in F1 and the Enclave in F2. Every game (IMO) needs a clear enemy with an achiveable agenda. Many games are ruined from my perspactive by having random alien invaders here to enslave humanity. Yes in some games it works well if exacuted correctly but many games seem to just pick it up, run with it, trip and plumet into chaotic "they're everywhere, they're nasty, they're bad guys."

    I think Human (or at least post human, like mutants or cyborgs) enemies are usually the best. They are often easy to relate too and a player can really get a grip on exactly what it is they want. Not to say the 'true enemy', 'final boss' or people controlling the human enemy has to be human per say.

    = A good setting.

    A playing area with at least a partly original backstory and clearly defined borders. Like in Stalker where you cant leave 'the Zone' because its surrounded by millitary borders and alike. A set gaming area (like an island or a city) gives players a sense of stability. Having a playing area too open ended (go anywhere, do anything) can overwhelm players with options.

    = Fun.

    A game has to be fun. Fun to play, fun to watch, fun to think about etc. A game with non optional grinding (such as most MMORPGs out there) isnt fun. It becomes a second job, you HAVE to reach level X before you can take on quest Y.

    Should have;

    = Humour.

    Humour is always good in a game, it breaks up the gameplay and gives lighter moments of playing which compliment the more frantic serious moments like a big fight or major battle.

    = Some level of realism or believable occourances.

    Quite a grey subject I think. Its good to keep a game, in my opinion, mostly set in the realms or reality and physics. Having things like rediculess magics and potions which make you twice as big can ruin a players indulgence if not exacuted correctly. This also depends on the setting a lot though, if a game is set in a fantasy world with wizards and dragons you can get away with a lot more.

    = NPC's you can relate too.

    Its usually good to have players be able to sympathise or relate with other characters, even enemy ones. A (non player) character with good motivation and goals which the player can relate too should increase the level of indulgence for the player. If the player can understand why a character is doing what it is they are doing they will start to look at them less as a collection of pixles and scripting and more as an actual person.

    I'm not going to cover 'could have' and 'would have' because they are mostly specific to whatever game you are thinking of and I dont want to go giving away my idea's. :P Plus this post is getting pretty big anyway.
  5. DirtyDreamDesigner

    DirtyDreamDesigner Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 15, 2005
    Wrong forum again, Tycell, next time you get a strike. Moving to General Gaming. And check your spelling.
  6. Nimrod

    Nimrod It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Sep 24, 2007
    Definitely. I remember playing Daggerfall and completely ignoring the main quest because I'd gotten caught up in working for the various guilds, buying a house, horse, boat, etc. The only real pain about that one was the monster scaling - once you'd reached a certain point there were only two or three types of enemies you'd find in a non-quest area.

    As long as I don't have to look like a f***king cherub swinging a sword bigger than I am... :). But I get exactly what you mean here. I'm an adult, and as such, a mature atmosphere will get me involved WAY more than cute little anime boys. It doesn't have to be GTA.

    Doesn't really have to be. Going back again to Ultima 7, almost every inch of the whole damn world was traversable. You could follow the winding road, take a boat up the coast, or slog straight north through the swamps and hope for the best. You didn't have to, but the option was there. The best part about it was it wasn't empty. I remember going tramping through the forest just for the hell of it, and came upon an overgrown and half-collapsed shack with a few giant spiders and a dead guy in it. It wasn't attached to any quest, it was just there, but it was cool finding it.

    One more thing I'd add: Modding tools. The mod community is what has kept so many of these games alive, and sooner or later somebody is probably going to figure out how to do it anyway. Just make a nice, usable set of tools and let us have at it from the start.
  7. Tycell

    Tycell Still Mildly Glowing

    Oct 12, 2004
    Ah, you have misinterperated what I mean, perhaps I wasn't clear enough. What I mean is having a 'world map' which doesnt just cut off like in Fallout games. One of the few things which annoyed me about the Fallout world map was that it restricted your movement for no apparent reason in the game world. There was no ocean, no wall, no mountain range, the map just stopped. The only reason (in game) you couldnt move further north in Fallout 1 and 2 is that you literally couldnt tell the player to go there.

    Of course in reality its because that was the edge of the game world and nothing beyond that existed but it wasnt a boundry or border, it was just an inability to move beyond the map, if you see what I am saying.

    Ideally in my game design theory you would have something there to stop you, such as an impassable barrier in game (Sea, mountain range, river, wall etc.).

    Its a small and mostly insignificant point but still :)

    Edit: And yes your quite right, modding tools for the community to use are deffinatly an excellent way of making a game more popular. Unfortunatly while most modern games have these tools they are usually so non-user friendly and time consuming to make anything that looks any good most people dont bother.
  8. Nimrod

    Nimrod It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Sep 24, 2007
    Okay, I grok what you're saying now. That works.

    And yeah, most game building tools are pretty messed up (I can't believe they made Arcanum with the tools they included). A nice user-friendly interface and a clear scripting system would be a great thing to have. That would equal more mods and therefore a longer lifespan. Again, though, I think game companies are purposefully phasing out replayability.