RPG Ideas

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So in a week or so I'm going to start on making an RPG. One of those old skool roguelike ones like Nethack or Ragnarok. I wondered if you guys had any ideas or thoughts on what you would like to see (or not see) in the game? Stuff like:

Is storyline important? If so, what would be a good storyline, the classic Gods are angry?
Random dungeons or fixed maps or a mixture?
What do you wish had been in an RPG?
What do you wish had never existed in RPGs?

Or anything else...

Edit: For clarity that I'm making a roguelike RPG

And Ragnarok and Nethack can both be found right next to each other on this page: http://www.dosgames.com/g_rpg.php
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Nethack was a roguelike. Is that what you're going for?

Is storyline important?

A story never hurts... but with a roguelike... no... story is not particularly important. Though a good story can make the game significantly more gripping.

Random dungeons or fixed maps or a mixture?

Random random random. Anything that needs to be "explored" should be random. A roguelike with fixed maps is a lame roguelike. Many roguelikes I've played have the overworld fixed.. but even that I don't like.

Or anything else...

A lot of really good ideas for roguelikes are in Elona... particularly how it handled skills and experience. Though the game itself is pretty repetitive and boring. I'm sure it took a lot of its ideas from elsewhere, too (*cough*ADOM*cough*). Elona and ADOM are worth checking out if you're interested in making a similar game.

Shiren the Wanderer (SNES, Japan only, but a translation is available if you play on an emulator) had an interesting idea with "pots" that you could put items in. The pots needed to be identified like potions/scrolls/etc... and different pots did different things. In particular:

- ID pots identified items you put inside
- Transformation pots turned the item into a different random item
- Bottomless pot made the item disappear
- Weakening pot made the item weaker the longer it was inside
- Strengthening pot did the opposite
- Fusion pot "fused" two different items. (see below)
- Dividing pot duplicated the item you put inside (which actually was kind of game-breaking)
- etc etc

The gimmick was you could only put so many items in a pot... and you couldn't take items out (at least not without a "withdraw scroll")... you had to throw (and destroy) the pot to get your items back.

The "Fusion" idea was actually really neat.... weapons and armor in that game had special attributes. Like there was a sword that did extra damage to monsters with one eye... and another weapon that did extra damage to undead. If you stick them both in the fusion pot, you'd get a single weapon that did both.
Thanks, that was a very helpful post Disch! Anyone else got any ideas? I thought this site would have several roguelike fans?
Note: Consider that I dont know about roguelike

Is storyline important?

Yes it is important for me. I am not a good RPG player, you can take attention of people like me with a good story.

What would be a good storyline?

There must be a mystery and you must tell about story with short notes or in a conversion with a villager.
Dont give all of the story at a time.
Surprise the player, make the player think "okey I got it he is the demon king who I want to kill" but then show that he is not the one who we are looking for. Change the story course.

Random, fixed or mixture

You cant make everything mixed as Disch said. At least you need fixed main roads or cities. And think what will happen when you go back: "Uh, there was a lake before but not now".

What I want to be in an RPG

Make citizens which we can interact with
Make pet system
Add some randomized events instead randomized maps( raandomized monster positions )
Quests system is essential

What I dont want to be in an RPG

Dont limit the player to select a chracter type. Allow him/her to wear anything he/she wants or allow him/her to upgrade any skill he/she wants.
You can look into Silkroad(MMORPG), it has a good skill system( especially the European skill system is good, you can only wear items which fits your skills )
What I like to see in RPG type games:

- Scaled monsters. Even if it's something simplistic like Monster.HP = Player.Lvl * Moster.Difficulty it kind of bogs a game down when you get so powerful that everything dies or runs away when you look at it.

- Random attributes on items are nice but don't let it bog you down.

- The story can be generic as long as the characters are interesting. I've been playing ADOM for years and I still don't know the story behind it.

What I don't like to see:

- Mandatory grinding. This was more of a problem in earlier RPG's where you basically needed to spend hours running around a field to trigger random encounters so that you could fight and level up your character enough not to die on the first hit in the next level.

Elona sort of got around the "grinding" problem by placing random dungeons on the world map... each with a different assigned 'difficulty level' which loosely matched the EXP level you'd need to be around for you to complete it. So you were still "grinding" in the sense that you were fighting guys around your level in an effort to get stronger.... but it was under the guise of exploring a new dungeon and finding new items.... so it didn't feel like grinding.
If you're going to have scaled monsters, please do a better job of it than Skyrim. Personally, I like the thing other RPGs have where you can't really access certain areas until you're powerful enough. Dark Souls has that, but it manages to not require grinding - you could look into how they managed it.
I think putting in something like XP gain = monster base XP - playerlevel * 2 would reduce the effectiveness of hanging around killing monsters on the same level for ages. I don't think anyone likes grinding. You always want the risk of dying, however slight, to be actually present. I'll have some ideas for other anti grinding strategies too.

@senhor: I'm definitely going to put in several quests and interactive villagers / friendly characters does sound like a very good idea! I'd like a pet system, but it looks quite tricky and long to program. :p We'll see if that goes in or not... I also like not limiting the character to what they are wearing. I was going to go for a Castle of the Winds style inventory, where you have slots (one for armour, one for boots, on for gloves etc...) and you can put any one item into each slot.
I also think Disch meant make things random as in the first time you go to them, they are randomly generated and thereafter remain the same layout, until you start a new game.

@computergeek01: Random item attributes sounds good and I don't think that is so difficult to implement. Ragnarok has a wonderful way of scaling some monsters. They are much more difficult to deal with if you have many items, or powerful items. I'm very keen to implement monsters of this type and perhaps some that do special damage (which high lvl might not necessarily have much effect against) such as % damage or ignoring items/armour during attacks.

@chrisname - I haven't played Skyrim. What did they do which was so terrible?
Mats wrote:
What did they do which was so terrible?

Lots of things, but since we were talking about monster scaling, it's terrible because there was almost never any challenge (increasing the difficulty just made the player deal less damage and enemies deal more, which isn't difficult, it's just tedious), especially when you got to about level 30 because enemies stop scaling at about level 50, so all of a sudden you can kill a dragon with no effort. I think the boss battle at the end of Skyrim was actually the easiest fight in the whole game. You have these other three people with you that do everything, you can literally just stand there and wait for them to kill Alduin for you.

Personally I don't think monsters should scale with your level at all. Each area of the map should have its own difficulty level to push the player into the path you want him to take, even if it's an open world game, there should still be areas that are off-limits for part of the game. Skilled players will still be able to go a different route, and you can use locked doors with keys that must be found or magic barriers that have to be disabled to enforce a basic progression.

If you want to see how to do an action RPG well, take a good look at Dark Souls. I honestly think it's the best action RPG I've ever played. If you want a more "pure" RPG, The Witcher 2 is good.
Warning... RPG story line, read at your own risk!

In a fantasy land ruled by gambling and arena style monster battles, our young hero has suffered tragedy with the death of his ill father. His farmland was taken away to cover his fathers gambling debt.

So our hero decides to collar a monster, train it up and win fortune from the battles and purchase back his father's land. There is no way to describe our hero's good luck when he chances upon a sleeping dragon, a rare and powerful monster, who was easily collared and must now do as his new master comands.

Our hero becomes the envy of the land as his new dragon wins battle after battle. But the dragon, being an apathetic and wise creature, does not like to fight for sport, and in short time becomes friends with our hero.

Since it would take many battles still to win enough money to buy back the farmland, the dragon proposes an alternative solution. He would reveal the secret location of an even more powerful monster, one that loves carnage, and would be perfect for the games. The dragon also promises to help capture and collar the dark force in exchange for his own freedom. Our hero agrees and a deal is soon made with a wealthy and greedy land baron. If the powerful monster can be delivered to the baron, then our hero will get back his father's farmland.

Thus begins an adventure across many lands to acquire magical componets which would help our hero enter the monster's secret "lair" and capture it. One such curious item is the goddess harp which places any creature into a trance.

The story takes a dark twist at the end...
When the powerful monster's lair is entered our hero gets the funny feeling that this monster does not live here by choice but might have actually been imprissoned there. But oh well... After a terrible battle the dark force is defeated by the goddess harp and safely collared. It will now do the bidding of his new master.

So our hero delivers the powerful monster to the greedy baron and is awarded his father's land. Then as promised, the dragon is set free, but once the dragon's collar was removed, it snatches the goddess harp and flies away with evil laughter.

Our hero returns home unaware that the goddess harp is the only artifact powerful enough to control the dark force. When the greedy baron awakens his prize monster, he discovers that the collar restraint has no affect on the creature and gets eaten. The dark force is now free to devistate the land. :)
The beginning of that story is sort of overused...
@ OP: So it's kind of like Pokemon meets "How to Train Your Dragon"? It's not terrible and it's still generic enough to work with. Trading a dragon for a farm seems like a bad deal.
my idea, a time and space disaster throws people from different times and places to one mysterious land (devonia) Its a future dartmoor however people just wake up there after the same disaster in their time and join their prospective tribe.

So the native americans etch a way to live on dartmoor in their way, and the ex soviet soldiers find a quarry to live in and the pikeys just put together a traveller type site in the woods and some bronze age people live in their huts and the medival tribe occupy a run down ancient castle, cant think of more contrasting tribes off the back of my head.

Theres cows and fish and birds to eat but the more people are showing up is beginning to stress tribal relations.

YOu appear to find that no one really knows what tribe to place you in when they find that you dont really fit the pikey/new age traveller tribe (the only british tribe) and that somethings wrong and your appearance is an omen

Allongside that people have to stay out of certain areas at certain times to avoid certain different kinds of abductions from certain kinds of UFO's

so the aim of the game is to roam and get a team together which eventually becomes a larger and more sophisticated tribe that overtime you collect scrap and trade spaceship parts from taking down the spaceships.

You have to unite the tribes then bring down and assualt the momma ship that lets you know what happens.

Also a nice touch is a wierd nth dimensional space pub, where thepatrons coming and going live in the time that would have been had this disaster not occurred, but you cant leave with them, they also dont understand that your trapped, cos they wont,

its also the main menu and save screen and you can visit the space pub at anytime by drinking a beer in devonia.

when you finish the game and learn the mysteries you can exit the pub to the world having stopped the disaster in the first place.
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@ devonrevenge: I was looking forward to a video game that let me drink an entire bear, you could even go with different flavors like Kodiak or Polar Bear.

You're the last of a species of an alien time travelers who discovers a secret plot to overthrow and destroy humanity. You travel from dungeon to dungeon ... each dungeon in a new locale and point in time ... from your trusty spaceship which is disguised as a blue telephone box.

Though while you are good hearted and have the best of intentions... you are haunted by your past and your role in your species' destruction... and cannot bear to let anyone know your real name. You refer to yourself only as "The Traveller"

Oh wait... no.... that's Doctor Who.....

I still like some of the old RPG's put out by TSR. They were totally open ended. You could build a party of evil thieves of be rightous knights. You could specialize in magic or fighting or a combo of both.

But if I could create an RPG, I would completely do away with character classes. At least the label anyways. Instead your character would naturally become a "class" based on how you played them. If you for example frequently cast spells, your character would become skilled at magic and better perform as a wizard, but then if you started using weapons suddenly it would seem as though your character was a low level fighter. It would take time but you could trasform your character into a skilled warrior. The consequence of changing how you play your character is that in time your magic abilities would weaken. If you don't use it, you lose it.
Manga, I see what you mean. I had the same idea. It'd stop people from racking hundreds of hours so they can max every class.
Pet system isnt as hard as it looks. I can help you with it if you want. Which libraries will you use?
I'm using the game engine Game Develop. http://compilgames.net/ Which I continue to recommend to anyone wanting to make 2D games...

I think a pet system is reasonably tricky to implement. You want it to be looking after itself quite well, without you having to curse it constantly for dying easily or getting the way or whatever.
@Manga: it sounds like a good idea, but then everyone will just focus in 1 class, and it'll become just like another 1 class per char game. Why should I let my Gandalf lose all his magic skills if I want a Legolas character? I'll just create another character then.

If I want this ranger different from that ranger, even they're both using Bow, I'll add an elemental system. A is now a Wind ranger, he uses Wind to empower every shot, B uses Poison arrows, which add dmg over time, C uses Cold arrows, which slow enemies, and D uses Fire arrows, which will become AoE, if combine with his oil traps, etc..., or Earth tanker, bonus regeneration when he stands on the ground, Steel tanker bonus armor with heavy armor, Wood tanker has thorn, Poison tanker has poison touch, Fire tanker radiates heat damage, Wind tanker has bonus speed, evasion... Basically it's like Pokemon type system + old school RPG classes.

Players have to choose their classes, and elements, max to 2 elements (1st at mid lv, 2nd at high lv) . They can use other elements but with 0.5x dmg. If the 2nd element is the same with the 1st then the player gets 1.5x instead of 1.0x when using that one element. Some elements are ultra rare, like Dragon type can only obtained with a specific item from a dragon boss that spawns once per week at random location.

With 6 base classes, which divides to 12 classes, and an elemental system with about 12 elements, the game has about 12x12x12 ~ 1700+ distinct class-element combinations. Good enough for me. Hell for developers.
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