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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 36 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Does the Forge allow cRPGs?  (Read 3661 times)
Josh K.
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Posts: 7


« on: August 15, 2010, 06:42:09 PM »

Hello everyone, I'm a novice RPG designer.  And I just stumbled on and joined this impressive website.
I don't have a consistent group to play table top RPGs with in real life, so I've started making simple RPGs for the PC.
My friends seem to enjoy them more as they can be played on their own time, and I enjoy making them.

I assume the development process between table top and computer RPGs are similar... so can I come to you guys for help and feedback?
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Vulpinoid
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2010, 11:25:49 PM »

I've developed a number of tabletop RPGs and now I'm in the midst of developing a MMO browser-based RPG.

The two aren't entirely separate endeavours.

What sort of questions have you got? The least I can do is point you toward some useful websites or other communities.

V
 
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Josh K.
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Posts: 7


« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2010, 02:21:44 PM »

It's not so much specific questions.  I essentially am wondering if I could use the same process as other RPG designers here.  I believe there's the "Big Three" Questions to answer and other things of the sort...
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Vulpinoid
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2010, 07:34:32 PM »

I just used the Power 19 to get my thoughts straight in the browser-based RPG that I'm developing...so, yes, I definitely think that a lot of thought patterns used in indie-rpgs can be used when developing online games.
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Rafu
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Raffaele, from Italy


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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2010, 01:40:43 PM »

Apart from The Forge "allowing" computer games discussion or not, you should consider whether discussing such a topic here can be of any benefit to you as a designer.

I may buy that "the two aren't entirely separate endeavours" (emphasis mine), but my opinion is that the two are fundamentally different, with any similarity (even those which are evolutionary related) being superficial. The Big Model describes a kind of social activity often called an "RPG" which is simply not what a computer game is, even when "RPG" is also a label with a different meaning in the computer games industry.
I believe that studying and analyzing roleplaying games, in the Forge-istic sense, has a potential to help you improve as a computer games designer... but so would an equally deep interest in boardgames, or sports, or other forms of gaming.
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Raffaele Manzo, or "Rafu" for short. From (and in) Italy. Here's where I blog about games (English posts). Here's where I micro-blog about everything.
Alfryd
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Posts: 118


« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2010, 11:43:36 AM »

Apart from The Forge "allowing" computer games discussion or not, you should consider whether discussing such a topic here can be of any benefit to you as a designer.

I may buy that "the two aren't entirely separate endeavours" (emphasis mine), but my opinion is that the two are fundamentally different, with any similarity (even those which are evolutionary related) being superficial. The Big Model describes a kind of social activity often called an "RPG" which is simply not what a computer game is, even when "RPG" is also a label with a different meaning in the computer games industry.
I believe that studying and analyzing roleplaying games, in the Forge-istic sense, has a potential to help you improve as a computer games designer... but so would an equally deep interest in boardgames, or sports, or other forms of gaming.
With respect, I think this may be prematurely dismissive.

1.  Many video games, esp. MMOs, are conducted in a highly social fashion, and many of the same basic problems in terms of tactical/strategic balance and niche protection crop up when it comes to the basic question of how to crunch numbers and allow for player cooperation.
2.  Many video games have a basic concern with representing a fictional world's social setting during character generation, or in-game physics or biology during combat, and in these areas, study of simulationist system design may well be enlightening or at least suggestive.
3.  Even single-player video games do exhibit a rough form of 'social feedback loop', in terms of customer relations, beta testing, and their impact on an iterative design process (including sequels,) so that a large scale 'creative agenda' might actually be in evidence over time.
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Jim D.
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2010, 12:01:41 PM »

I agree on a lot of counts, here.  I do computer game design/programming as a hobby as well as dabbling in RPGs, and thinking about game balance (nebulous term though that is), simulationism, abstraction, and feedback loops/advancement/whatever undergoes a similar process.  The difference does lie in the social aspect, truth be told, because I'm not sure I've seen an MMO (save maybe MUDs if those belong in that category) effectively allow players to tell a story.  I'd hardly call World of Warcraft an RPG, for example; you build a character, do predefined missions, and grind, grind, grind.  How does it make any sense that you kill Onyxia, or the Lich King, or whoever, and then two hours later they're alive again?

I can't speak for the "official position" of the Forge, if there is one, but I can definitely see the parallels between, at the very least, single-player computer RPGs and tabletop games.  And if you disagree, go play Planescape: Torment and ask again.
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Rafu
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Raffaele, from Italy


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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2010, 08:44:43 PM »

Alfryd, you are probably misreading me. I never meant to characterize computer games as "not a social activity". It's just that they're not that same very specific kind of (incidentally, social) activity that we call RPGs at The Forge. So it probably comes to bad English wording on my part.

And, in case you're not convinced...

- Computer games have a "playing field" which is usually the visual representation of a virtual world (sometimes it's a textual representation, but you got the idea). Within the confines of such a "playing field" you do a number of things, including social things.
- Role-playing games have a conversation between some people (a social activity) as their "playing field". We call it "Exploration" or "Shared Imaginary Space", fancy words those, but in plain old English it's actually just a conversation.

Also:

- A role-playing game, as an activity, requires an interaction between people (the Social Contract level) before it can even start existing. Sort of like you need an operating computer to run a computer game. An RPG is social at the level a computer game is electronic.
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Raffaele Manzo, or "Rafu" for short. From (and in) Italy. Here's where I blog about games (English posts). Here's where I micro-blog about everything.
Alfryd
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Posts: 118


« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2010, 03:29:19 AM »

@ Rafu:
I don't disagree with what you're saying, but I think you're assertion that studying tabletop RPGs was no more inherently useful than studying sports or board games was basically misleading, at least when it comes to designing CRPGs.  When it comes to role and function of number-crunching, and the way that social expectations place long-term demands on those mechanics, they have a fair amount in common.  Of course they're not exactly the same very specific kind of thing.  Obviously.  But enough of the accumulated wisdom on the usefulness of various techniques in system design applies to both that I think discussing them using the same terminology can be useful.

@ Jim:
I 100% agree that video games, on the whole, have almost no focus on story-creation, and that only a minority even tell (largely) predefined stories particularly well.  WOW, I think, can be basically characterised as supportive of Hard Core Gamism.  Although in a previous thread Caldis mentioned the possibility of players engaging in Sim-style play within such worlds, and I think there's some evidence to suggest a minority actually do so (given the inclusion of crafting skills, 'hobby' activities such as fishing, 'role-play ghettoes' and the noriety of Goldshire players.)

Even MMOs that incorporate a fair amount of Sim in their underlying mechanics (think EVE online) tend to degenerate into Hard Core form pretty quickly, because the mere existence of players with an OOC agenda (e.g, suicide runs made in the full confidence that you can just roll up a new character) fatally undermines the integrity of the Dream- even when that 'Dream' is officially synonymous with ruthless competition.  I'm not sure it's even possible to create a genuinely Simulationist MMO.

Hence, most Sim games tend to wind up more effective as single-player affairs, and interestingly I think it's here, rather than in the big-budget CRPGs that pretend to offer meaningful control over storyline but essentially give you a handful of railroad tracks to jump between, that you can see the unsteady beginnings of emergent Narrativism.  Sim games with a strong focus on Exploration of Character (i.e, giving the wee people a degree of of 'free will' or autonomy, such as what's seen in Majesty, Crusader Kings or the Sims,) seems to inspire some folks to try and weave dramatic narratives out of their interactions.

If you look at the manual for Stronghold 2, for example, there's a very interesting distinction between military units (which the player must directly control and coordinate) and economic 'units' (which go about their business autonomously, without the need for supervision.)  All the military units are described in terms of their stats, damage, resource cost in a no-nonsense fashion.  All the economic units are cheerfully described in terms of personality, habits, demeanour, etc.  It's like they're writing for two utterly different audiences.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2010, 04:36:40 PM »

It's not so much specific questions.  I essentially am wondering if I could use the same process as other RPG designers here.  I believe there's the "Big Three" Questions to answer and other things of the sort...
How do you mean 'whether you could'? I mean, you could just try them and see if they do anything for you? No one needs to say you could use them.

I'll second guess, which may be entirely missplaced. Sometimes a new designer (or even an old one) wants to feel some affirmation for their ideas, which encourages them to roll up their sleaves and do the grunt work of writing, or in this case, coding.

In terms of affirming, there are two levels - the practicalities, and the 'feel' or 'spirit' or 'art' of the game.

I don't know if it helps, but pitch your ideas for the game and in terms of the latter, you can say it and I'll most cheer you on. Sometimes we just need to be each others cheer squads :) Though I'll say in terms of practicality, if it contradicts itself in some way I'll note that. But practicality is a different layer to the idea or feel.

Good luck, post about it if you want! All ears! :)
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a flight of stairs
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2010, 09:13:30 PM »

Seeing as most of us are familiar with cRPGs, I think there would be some benefit in coming here and asking for support/advice, maybe we need a section of the site for it, if that would be possible, would anyone object? The response on this thread says there are people with an interest in it, even a few programmers. Runnning a very quick search, I can't find a site like Forge dedicated to indie cRPG development.
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Vulpinoid
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« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2010, 11:21:30 PM »

Given a lot of people's dislike of comparing cRPGs to "pen and paper" RPGs....it might be better to take this thread over to the Indie Resource Forums.

Personally I see the argument of "cRPGs aren't roleplaying" as very similar to the butting of heads that always arises when LARP gamers and Miniatures gamers gather together. A LARP gamer is often going to say that there's no "role" aspect when you're just rolling dice and consulting charts, and a miniatures gamer is going to say that there's no "game" aspect when you're poncing around in a costume...

I do both, and with the right group of people either of them can be a valid technique for developing stories. I'm seeing computer gaming in a similar light, it's just that there aren't many people pushing the envelope in that direction.


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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
M. J. Young
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2010, 09:42:09 PM »

Josh, I'm not "official", but I've been involved for a long time and done a lot of work in the development and explanation of the theory and its application.

I don't really think there's a question of whether you would be "allowed" to use the feedback support here to design your games.  The questions really are whether the people here would be able to understand and benefit you through that process.  Some are going to be lost at the point where you say it's a CRPG; but then, some are lost at the point where you say it's intended to support Simulationist play--not everyone here relates to every kind of game.

And I think that if you brought a CCG here you could probably get at least some worthwhile feedback, even though I find CCGs to be considerably more alien to the RPG concept than CRPGs.  I know CCG players who think that there is a lot of similarity between the two hobbies, and I know a lot of CRPG players who are RPG players at heart using the CRPG or MUX or MMORPG model as yet another kind of role playing.

So I think that there probably is value to the feedback you could get here, even though a lot of the people here aren't going to be able to give you much.  It's what you'll get from those that matter.

I think, too, that a lot of people here might benefit from seeing how you apply the kinds of questions they ask for their RPG development to your CRPG development.  It may open new understandings of how RPGs can approach problems from seeing how answer do and don't fit the CRPG models.

I certainly don't think anyone "official" is going to slap your fingers for posting in the appropriate forums about your game idea and what kind of questions you have, as long as you approach it in the ways we do it here (ask good specific questions, clarify your situation, use actual play examples).  That's not how things are done here.  The worst that can happen is the Forge community will disappoint you by failing to grasp the nuances of your problems--and you know what?  I think better of them than that.

--M. J. Young
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