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Thread: Any budding game designers on CA?

  1. #151
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    I dont know if an engine has been chosen yet but Torque 2d is pretty nice although it does require everything to be handled via torquescript- but they do have a good community and decent start up tuts for platformers/sidescrollers-
    from personal exp -creating simple character movement controls was easy as well as simple ui and asset management but scripting even simple ai for it is fairly hardcore although not impossible. But it gives you a great toolset for 2d assets.

    an additional note for battle systems- Secret of Mana should be mentioned as it had what JasonClark is talking about with party mechanics combined with a faster paced battle system.

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    While I agree with Jason ^^^
    I also think that we have come a long way from those days where it was a requirement to have multiple 'jobs' to fill the role.
    I think more open ended skill based systems work well, I just think they need to be organised in a way for micro-management.

    I dunno, I'm just blowing smoke I guess... we'll have to wait and see how it goes I suppose.

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  3. #153
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    I think stepping away from the prototypes and genre standards is something to look for. There are dozens and dozens of fantasy RPG's, and they all have the same elements: multiple 'standard' fantasy races, practically the same class systems in one way or another, oversized inventories that make no sense. I mean, what would happen if you could only carry one or two weapons at a time, and a small backpack's worth of items? You'd have to think very carefully what to take with you for specific tasks. This might just add something to the gameplay.

    Also the races: high elves, dark elves, orcs, dwarves, undead, haven't we seen enough of them yet? Or at least the way they are most often portrayed. Not saying we should (or could) be 100% original, but can't we at least portray them a bit differently, like Walnut suggested, instead of saying 'oh they're wood elves, they're wise and fast and deadly and live in the woods. They make great rangers'. I'm generalizing here, but I've encountered this in a score of games, and for me it's gotten a bit old.

    It might also be nice to focus more on the quest and puzzle aspects, rather than the action-oriented games that are so prevalent nowadays. I liked Oblivion a lot, but every quest seemed to boil down to fighting someone or something. Maybe we could incorporate minigame-like puzzles and things into it, to keep the variety in the quests and keep the player interested.

    So eh, yeah, just thinking aloud here. We're not making a high-end game, I know, but with a few good original ideas we might just end up with a fresh, fun one instead of a poor man's Oblivion or something like that.

    Last edited by Yngling; July 8th, 2009 at 06:26 PM.
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  5. #154
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    I have a question relating to the actual team btw, will we be getting access to private forums for a bit? And then when things get more concrete making it an open forum? Or is it just going to be an open forum the whole way? Where anyone can see / add things to it?

    I'm just curious to the developmental process...

    Prolly should wait to see actually... I dunno... lol@!

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    Is there room for exploration and environment interaction in this game, or is that leaning too far on the adventure side of things? Obviously I dont mean in a platformer/pushing block puzzle sense..more like..your path is blocked by a massively overgrown hedge, so you need to 'learn a fire spell' to burn it down in order to progress- An alternative to the game skill system being used purely to fight random enemy encounters and boss battles .*

    I dont know if i've perhaps been playing the wrong games over the years,but the lack of actual environment interactivity always puts me off the RPG genre - especially in the older games where the gameplay is walk from A to B without dying from rat bites. One levels up simply to become more sufficient in battles, and after a while - the odd awesome boss fight aside- that gets rather dull. Once you get the awesome sword of +10 theres little point in taking your turn for most battles, since youll be doing the same attack every time even if there are other options...


    * See Pokemon, Golden Sun

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    I think since Jason posted some of the character types/races, that's the direction we're going in. I think the writing group here is most likely incredibly creative, so even with these typical RPG races, I have no doubt that this community can push the descriptions and image of those races outside the stereotypical boundaries of RPGs.


    Are we going to be allowed to help/submit to multiple groups/categories? For instance, be apart of creative writing, as well as visual design? Or will we be organized into separate groups and keep our focus solely on the group we're put in/choose?

    edit: I second what ALH said. I only know of one game that took allowed the character to interact with the environment in order to make the story progress, sadly I can't remember the name of it, I'll do some research and see if I can find it. But I totally agree it's an avenue worth exploring if possible.

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    I would hope that we would end up with something more objective than "Longsword +1" lets get some awesome background story with each weapon that is named. Otherwise just keep 'em basic I say

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    Yes, the general problem with trying to write up characterization profiles is simply that people may end with vastly different interpretations of races. I'm sure that no one disagrees that Tolkien had some great concepts for elves and dwarves, but those concepts worked best within the confines of his world where they had significant motivation to step outside their normal home territories, and provided a contrast between the much weaker main protagonist. Tolkiens concepts, which have been a bit overused by this point IMO, are require a fair bit of re-balancing, and close attention paid to motivations. As visually stunning as Legolas' stunts may have been in the movie series...lets face it...he was a huge Marty Sue.

    Now there are all sorts of interesting ways that one can take different races...for example, check out the article on Dwarves in Wikipedia. Apparently they used to considered man sized, with a deathly pallor, and were burned by sunlight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walnut View Post
    Don't we need a good setup for the background story first? I mean, if it's going to be one of those "bad god got exiled for being a rotten bastard and now it's a thousand years later and he's getting back at everyone and hey, guess what, you're actually the tool for his revenge" kind of stories, i sure hope something more interesting might bubble up. One thing i'd like to see to have elves not portrayed as the most advanced civilization, but rather as a bunch of decadent asses end-of-Roman Empire style. Or perhaps they already did that somewhere?

    as said...great story is key to success with rpg's. Planescape has one of the best. We will come up with a good story outline...no point otherwise.

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    Yeah wouldn't it be great to base the world off of actual myths (a bit of a contradiction, that), instead of the Tolkien-formula? There's plenty of inspiration in those stories. They're often really crazy and absurd!

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    Not to get to far ahead but maybe the other activities could be incorperaited into this down the road. such as lets say a cool character is made one week for Chow,maybe the winners character could be incporperated in game. or any of the other weekly chalanges in the same way.

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    also think about the other types of character races that could be included such as faeries, brownies, banshees etc and how you could twist those. Also, I think ALH has a good question about environment interaction.

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    Demo: I'm working on this, and so is Daestwen So yeh, that's a very valid option at some point.

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    The fantasy market is the single largest rpg market. Given what we are going to attempt to do, that is who this will be made for...as an exercise in working within creative boundaries.

    We are not going to try compete with oblivion or wow on a community activity. There is no point to even consider that at this time. Dave Perrry had 40k people working on his MMO top secret and that couldnt get done. Just far too hard to do that kind of project without funding or without hordes of seasoned professionals. I am interested in doing something reasonable.

    If all goes well we will have a way that the community can create things and see them actually get out in the world. The fantasy scene is primarily chosen because we CAN and WILL be creative within it's boundaries while not having to re-invent the wheel. Look at the sketchbooks section. Trying to get all artists on the same page is going to be a challenge enough...let alone trying to get a horde of creatives to come up with something the world has never seen before. I have no interest in that worthy struggle for this first project.

    Those of you interested in creating new genres, new ip in new worlds, you are not realizing that to coordinate that effort with this huge community could lead to a massive hodge podge of visual mess even with the best of management. By choosing something everyone is familiar with, we have the hope of actually pulling it off. Creating new IP is a challenge that we will tackle if this works out. Right now we are choosing something that is familiar to everyone as it will make it very very easy to unify the project from the get go.

    I fully believe that this community can create something visually fresh in an existing genre. It is the nature of our jobs as concept artists. Hell, MB has a handful of fantasy projects going at any one time.

    If you are tired of the genre, then this is not the project for you. Perhaps the next one will be.


    Jason


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Manley View Post
    The fantasy market is the single largest rpg market. Given what we are going to attempt to do, that is who this will be made for...as an exercise in working within creative boundaries.

    We are not going to try compete with oblivion or wow on a community activity. There is no point to even consider that at this time. Dave Perrry had 40k people working on his MMO top secret and that couldnt get done. Just far too hard to do that kind of project without funding or without hordes of seasoned professionals. I am interested in doing something reasonable.

    If all goes well we will have a way that the community can create things and see them actually get out in the world. The fantasy scene is primarily chosen because we CAN and WILL be creative within it's boundaries while not having to re-invent the wheel. Look at the sketchbooks section. Trying to get all artists on the same page is going to be a challenge enough...let alone trying to get a horde of creatives to come up with something the world has never seen before. I have no interest in that worthy struggle for this first project.

    Those of you interested in creating new genres, new ip in new worlds, you are not realizing that to coordinate that effort with this huge community could lead to a massive hodge podge of visual mess even with the best of management. By choosing something everyone is familiar with, we have the hope of actually pulling it off. Creating new IP is a challenge that we will tackle if this works out. Right now we are choosing something that is familiar to everyone as it will make it very very easy to unify the project from the get go.

    I fully believe that this community can create something visually fresh in an existing genre. It is the nature of our jobs as concept artists. Hell, MB has a handful of fantasy projects going at any one time.

    If you are tired of the genre, then this is not the project for you. Perhaps the next one will be.


    Jason


    Jason
    Just as a side note as well, it might make for a possibilty for some of these folks involved to get recognition as well as portfolio / resume pieces

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    I think that y'all are getting your characters running before theres a path here.

    To create a believeable world one must actually have the world. If we know that the planet/contintent/country the game will be set in will have a desert, a mountain and a forest we can apply races from there- these people would have adapted to their environments after all, and even if theyre all staple fantasy beings theres still room to mix it up simply by changing the world they live in- have there ever been desert elves?


    Like Aphotic Phoenix said- tolkeins characters were set in his own world, and may not work outside of it. If the foundations of the CA games world are set, then we all must follow suit when creating races and characters to fit the specific environments encountered in the game. A simple rule like ' every character in the CA game must have protection from the thunderstorms which are particularly deadly across the planet due to increased atmospheric pressures because of a vengeful god' can help even further in uniting the 'global' spread of species and cultures, while keeping the high fantasy theme.

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    Ask the right questions

    Some interesting ideas regarding the content right there. I'm curious about the whole structure of things so here's a different perspective:

    - Restrictions/Boundaries (What can/can't we do?)
    Time. How much for the whole project? How much for each phase? How much can each team member contribute? etc.
    Team. How many people? What can they do? Experience level? etc.
    Technology. What platform are we going for? How many programmers do we have and how capable are they? What technology are we communicating with? (The forum? How does that affect our work?) etc.
    Market. What audience are we going for? What is our competition (what has already been done)? etc.

    Under the consideration of the restrictions that you have, you get to the:
    - Requirements (What do we want?)
    What are the game mechanics (e.g. character customization, combat, dialogue, trading,...)? What is the main game mechanic (what is the player going to do most of the time)? What do we want to achieve with each game mechanic (e.g. do we want the combat to be fast-paced and visceral or slow and strategic)? What do we want to emphasize (e.g. storytelling, exploration, combat, social commentary,...)? What do we want the universe/story to express? etc.


    I find that once you manage to ask the right questions (as many as possible), you've won half the battle because then you can go and answer each one decisively and set the goals for the project. It is important to note that you first only define what you want, because this will serve as your orientation. Only then you can think about how you can go on about achieving said goals and every decision that you are going to make, whether on a high or low level, can be evaluated against the goal(s) that were set (How does this design decision help me achieve my goal? Does it actually help me achieve my goal?), which helps tremendously to maintain a clear vision on the project.

    In short, first answer as clearly and in detail as humanly possible what you want, then let the team figure out how they are going to achieve that.

    The questions above are nowhere near exhaustive.

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    That being said...of course we will work on having a fresh take on things...as well as relying on the roots of fantasy to hold it all together. The character/classes that I suggested are foundation and since people want something to do I wrote that up. No one is asking to write up exact descriptions of frodo or drizzt.

    Really though, if this genre is not of interest than perhaps another activity in the future will be.

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    Anyone ever play the Blades of Exile series from Spiderweb Games?



    I spent so much time on that. The interface is simple and entirely based on 2d art. Just tossin' it in here for an example.

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    What a swell idea for a project! I am not sure what exactly I can contribute, but I will keep an eye on this thread.
    I have the most experience in web design, and while others in this thread can definitely paint circles around me, I can usually hold my own on the design front.
    I have some experience in character look development as well.
    UI, typography, layout, and such are probably my strongest points.
    I have taken a couple game design classes and at least know the basics of getting a rational, intuitive gameplay system working. Also familiar with some programming in Java. Looking forward to see where this goes!

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    I think we found a Producer/Coordinator/Manager. ahem. You are right on point. Good work.

    I am aware these questions must be answered and we will do so prior to any beginning of the activity and learning.



    jason

    Quote Originally Posted by SirSushi View Post
    Some interesting ideas regarding the content right there. I'm curious about the whole structure of things so here's a different perspective:

    - Restrictions/Boundaries (What can/can't we do?)
    Time. How much for the whole project? How much for each phase? How much can each team member contribute? etc.
    Team. How many people? What can they do? Experience level? etc.
    Technology. What platform are we going for? How many programmers do we have and how capable are they? What technology are we communicating with? (The forum? How does that affect our work?) etc.
    Market. What audience are we going for? What is our competition (what has already been done)? etc.

    Under the consideration of the restrictions that you have, you get to the:
    - Requirements (What do we want?)
    What are the game mechanics (e.g. character customization, combat, dialogue, trading,...)? What is the main game mechanic (what is the player going to do most of the time)? What do we want to achieve with each game mechanic (e.g. do we want the combat to be fast-paced and visceral or slow and strategic)? What do we want to emphasize (e.g. storytelling, exploration, combat, social commentary,...)? What do we want the universe/story to express? etc.


    I find that once you manage to ask the right questions (as many as possible), you've won half the battle because then you can go and answer each one decisively and set the goals for the project. It is important to note that you first only define what you want, because this will serve as your orientation. Only then you can think about how you can go on about achieving said goals and every decision that you are going to make, whether on a high or low level, can be evaluated against the goal(s) that were set (How does this design decision help me achieve my goal? Does it actually help me achieve my goal?), which helps tremendously to maintain a clear vision on the project.

    In short, first answer as clearly and in detail as humanly possible what you want, then let the team figure out how they are going to achieve that.

    The questions above are nowhere near exhaustive.


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    Welcome to the fray. This was said better than I could. This is precisely the mindset it takes to work within the challenges of existing genre. Excellent points.



    Jason


    Quote Originally Posted by ALH View Post
    I think that y'all are getting your characters running before theres a path here.

    To create a believeable world one must actually have the world. If we know that the planet/contintent/country the game will be set in will have a desert, a mountain and a forest we can apply races from there- these people would have adapted to their environments after all, and even if theyre all staple fantasy beings theres still room to mix it up simply by changing the world they live in- have there ever been desert elves?


    Like Aphotic Phoenix said- tolkeins characters were set in his own world, and may not work outside of it. If the foundations of the CA games world are set, then we all must follow suit when creating races and characters to fit the specific environments encountered in the game. A simple rule like ' every character in the CA game must have protection from the thunderstorms which are particularly deadly across the planet due to increased atmospheric pressures because of a vengeful god' can help even further in uniting the 'global' spread of species and cultures, while keeping the high fantasy theme.


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    I was never really a big RPG player growing up, but I do love the characters and worlds that have been created within the RPG and fantasy relms...
    A few game suggestions that I remember that I don't think have been mentioned yet... (I don't believe they fall under the fantasy genre that we are discussing, but reference none the less)
    Zelda
    Diablo
    Grandia
    Skies of Arcadia
    Time Stalkers
    Evolution: The World of Sacred Device
    War Hammer 40K

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    Hell yes!

    We will have a number of goodies for those participating in something this big. Good stuff planned. Will include that info when we do the formal announcement.



    Jason





    Quote Originally Posted by Matte_Art View Post
    Just as a side note as well, it might make for a possibilty for some of these folks involved to get recognition as well as portfolio / resume pieces


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    Item Histories are a huge part of the method used to tell the story of the land itself. When possible, all but the most common items (and even those could too) are going to need short histories written for them. Especially the artifacts...the more powerful the piece the more unique and interesting the history shall be.

    The games I suggested people take a look at, especially those from BIS have that. If folks have questions...just check out all those games and then we can discuss more in detail as the project continues.




    Quote Originally Posted by Matte_Art View Post
    I would hope that we would end up with something more objective than "Longsword +1" lets get some awesome background story with each weapon that is named. Otherwise just keep 'em basic I say


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    Well, there are actually two schools of thought based on this...

    1) Develop World First:

    Pluses - Rich world, vivid environment, ease to segment / dungeon out.
    Minuses - Character design takes a hit usually, Settlements are usually very basic and not very creative when it comes around to the actual makeup of the citizens, etc.

    2) Develop Characters First:

    Pluses - Very vivid character development, rich character interaction, high diversity to the world.
    Minuses - World takes a hit as far as the overall design goes in terms of varying environments, dungeons are sometimes bland because of it.

    There is also a side note that applies to each: If you dont have a team dedicated to both on an equal term, then they both develop equally. Variance is a great way to keep things interesting. Either that or jump between the two equally.

    Basically what I'm trying to say, is to keep things interesting, I'd suggest to vary the populace of areas and keep an open mind when it comes to world development.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Manley View Post
    I think we found a Producer/Coordinator/Manager. ahem. You are right on point. Good work.

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    I'm very interested in this and will give as much as I can... I'll have to get back though I just found this out a couple minutes ago and I got some stuff on the stove...

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    Matte_art- Dont you see? The world IS a character.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matte_Art View Post
    2) Develop Characters First:

    Pluses - Very vivid character development, rich character interaction, high diversity to the world.
    Minuses - World takes a hit as far as the overall design goes in terms of varying environments, dungeons are sometimes bland because of it.
    While I agree with most of what you said, my thoughts toward the minuses of developing characters first are almost the opposite. Usually it seems to me as though when the world is designed around the characters the result is a very diverse and interesting landscape. The problem though, is that these locations often seem roughly stuck together to accommodate the already planned character interactions, resulting in an unrealistic world overall.

    I'm in favour of the "landscape first" idea because it basically guarantees a more realistic environment, and I'm pretty confident that this crowd is creative enough to come up with some very interesting characters anyway.

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