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Dhruin May 22nd, 2007 21:39

Confessions of an RPG Developer @ Atomic PC
 
Australian mag Atomic PC has a fascinating piece titled Confessions of an RPG Developer. While the author's conclusions on the genre are debatable the article is a good read - it's essentially a short history of the genre with input from Richard Garriott, Chris Avellone, Joel Billings and Todd Howard and here's a sample:
Quote:

There are those, though, who were inspired by D&D in a different way. Where Garriott admits in his high school days that he found strict adherence to the die-rolling and statistics management side of D&D incredibly tiresome, Joel Billings, former CEO of SSI, thinks it was the tactical side of the game that made it so compelling. And when his company released the Gold Box D&D games to unprecedented commercial success, he was vindicated. A die-hard wargamer at heart (growing up in a family of veterans tends to do that to you), Billings was never too roused by Elves, Orcs, and magic arrows. It wasn’t until Paul Murray and Keith Brors – designer and programmer of SSI’s first Gold Box hit, Pool of Radiance, respectively – pointed out the tactics involved in D&D that he took interest. ‘Most of the games that were out while we were doing Pool of Radiance, like Ultima,’ Billings remembers, ‘were, you know, more that sort of, “One guy wanders around the world” adventure games. And what Paul had done a little differently with one of our RPGs before Pool, Wizard’s Crown, was tactical combat – more like a war game, you know? You had your party, and you’d go into battle, and you’d move the pieces around.’
Thanks, Incognito!
More information.

roqua May 22nd, 2007 21:39

Quote:

‘I think, fundamentally, a “role-playing game” is best defined by the first word,’ he says, ‘in that it’s a game where you play a role. This means that when you sign up and begin playing the game, and you choose or are given a role, your success or failure is dependent upon how well you play that specific role. For example, one of my favourite role-playing games – as I know them – is Thief, which was made by some of my friends here in town. In that game, you’re clearly playing the role of a thief; if you don’t play that role properly, you won’t succeed. What’s interesting is that I think most people who build role-playing games don’t adhere to that; for those, I actually use a term that means the same thing: “RPG”. Which of course really just means role-playing game, but I use that acronym to describe more of what I see in the industry. For example, most people who are building RPGs are building stats and inventory-based management games.’

‘These are where, in order to get through the game, you collect treasure and pump attribute points – you optimise your damage over time, and improve your defensive strengths to succeed at the challenges placed before you. And I think that’s actually considerably different to a true “role-playing game”. I think most people in this business don’t really split hairs like that, but there are actually very few games that could be called “role-playing games”, that focus very much on how well you play that role, or how much they encourage you to live through that role. It’s more about attribute management.’
Thats so goddamn retarded it pains me. So, keeping with his thinking, since in Super Mario Brothers, you play the role of a mushroom stomping, drain-portaling, plumber well, you are playing a fabulous rpg? I'd like to stab him in his retarded, gay head. I have a wacky idea, maybe the best way to define an rpg is to define an rpg. Lets picture a group sitting down to play an rpg, and the dm decides Bill is a thief and says, "Bill, you are a thief." And so Bill plays a thief, and instead of role-playing, he picks locks well, and sneaks well, and thiefs well so he has figured out the secret to why the rpg was invented. I want to piss in his mouth so bad.

What if I want to play Sue, the big-clumbsy, want-to be thief who tries but never succeseds in stealing anything? Playing a role isn't being a good thief, playing a role is acting and reacting as the personality you created would. Its a fucking simple concept, you goddamn peon.

In a real, true rpg, you create a role that is 100% seperate and independant of you, and play that role while participate in the creation of a story. It has nothing to do with thiefs or combat or inventory management, and it sure as hell has nothing to do with the game Thief. The stats just help define the abilties of the alter ego, and enforces that you and your alter ego are seperate and independant of one another.

If I am a repair man, I am a repair man. If I was to repair something I wouldn't be playing a role, I would be doing what I do. Repairing things is just one aspect of what makes me me.

txa1265 May 22nd, 2007 21:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by roqua (Post 29410)
What if I want to play Sue, the big-clumbsy, want-to be thief who tries but never succeseds in stealing anything? Playing a role isn't being a good thief, playing a role is acting and reacting as the personality you created would. Its a fucking simple concept, you goddamn peon.

hehe … love that one, roqua!

I am replaying Soldier of Fortune II right now. I would say that I 'take on the role of John Mullins', but that doesn't make it a role-playing game. The 'role' that I 'play' is to run around on levels that could have been designed on an etch-a-sketch and shoot everything that moves, could move, might move, or just that I want to shoot. There is no stealth option (aside from the forced stealth level), there is no diplomacy option - indeed there is no option at all. Shoot it or die.

Ionstormsucks May 23rd, 2007 01:06

I guess I know where Garriott is coming from and what he's aiming at. It's all about feeling really. If I play Thief then I very much feel reminded of my P&P days. To me Thief feels much more like true role playing than many CRPGs out there. Of course I did not create the character of Garrett, and of course I do not have the possibilities to act as I would like, but the game gives you a very good idea of what Garrett is like, and it's fairly easy to take on his role and to identify with him. The game is basically one big coherent story that is conveyed to you and in time it is easy to feel with Garrett. Of course you do not have the freedom that you have in P&P. There is no whatsoever to influence the story for example and your character is predetermined.
It's not so much about playing a thief - it's more about playing the master thief Garrett.

But if you look at so called true RPGs then the question arises what they have in common with P&P and if they really come closer to P&P. In many cases I seriously doubt that. I mean, in what RPG can you actually create and play a character in the way you want - there simply isn't one. It all comes down to choices that were predetermined for you by a game developer.

Dez May 23rd, 2007 01:12

Quote:

Originally Posted by roqua (Post 29410)
And so Bill plays a thief, and instead of role-playing, he picks locks well, and sneaks well, and thiefs well so he has figured out the secret to why the rpg was invented. I want to piss in his mouth so bad.

hahaha I couldn't stop laughing for a while. I wish the author of that article would see your comments! :)

Role-Player May 23rd, 2007 01:39

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks (Post 29466)
I mean, in what RPG can you actually create and play a character in the way you want - there simply isn't one.

In what P&P game can you absolutely create and play a character in the way you want? All P&P systems have their own set of rules and restrictions one needs to adhere to; I can't simply play a Half-Borg/Pint-Elvis/Demi-Call of Cthulhu/Half-Ann Coulter Rock Barbarian Emo Surfer with psyonic powers, the ability to fly and use telekinesis in Dungeons and Dragons, for instance.

Quote:

It all comes down to choices that were predetermined for you by a game developer.
As opposed to the choices that are predetermined for you by a Game Master in a P&P session?

roqua May 23rd, 2007 02:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks (Post 29466)
I guess I know where Garriott is coming from and what he's aiming at. It's all about feeling really. If I play Thief then I very much feel reminded of my P&P days. To me Thief feels much more like true role playing than many CRPGs out there. Of course I did not create the character of Garrett, and of course I do not have the possibilities to act as I would like, but the game gives you a very good idea of what Garrett is like, and it's fairly easy to take on his role and to identify with him. The game is basically one big coherent story that is conveyed to you and in time it is easy to feel with Garrett. Of course you do not have the freedom that you have in P&P. There is no whatsoever to influence the story for example and your character is predetermined.
It's not so much about playing a thief - it's more about playing the master thief Garrett.

But if you look at so called true RPGs then the question arises what they have in common with P&P and if they really come closer to P&P. In many cases I seriously doubt that. I mean, in what RPG can you actually create and play a character in the way you want - there simply isn't one. It all comes down to choices that were predetermined for you by a game developer.


I understand that feeling you get of total immersion, of empathizing and feeling one with the character on screen. The same feeling I get when I watch Braveheart or read a great book. I transcend from my body and live vicariously through the character that I am watching, reading, or playing.

That feeling shows that you are participating in a truly great work of whatever medium you happen to be enjoying (movie, book, or game). But rpgs, regardless of the medium, are meant to provide a different experience. Rpgs are the only game that allows you to breath life in a character and have that character live vicariously through you. You are the storyteller. Garriott is a master thief regardless if you pick up that controller or not. The book you are reading is set in stone, and in Braveheart William Wallace will always react the same in every scene. Those character’s don’t need you to provide them life, motivation, or direction. They are them, but my character in an rpg is mine. Without you Garriott is still Garriott, without you, your rpg character is nothing.

If you are saying crpgs restrict freedom too much, and don’t do enough to support roleplaying, I agree. But the games that try get slammed for not having enough story, for being too bland. Letting the character create, make, and tell his own story should be the overriding goal of every game we allow to be called rpgs.

Rpgs are supposed to be a blank book you fill with your own adventure. I think people don’t want to make there own stories; they want to participate in someone else’s.

Role-Player May 23rd, 2007 03:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by roqua (Post 29478)
Garriott is a master thief regardless if you pick up that controller or not. (…) Without you Garriott is still Garriott, without you, your rpg character is nothing.

Garriot, eh?

Dhruin May 23rd, 2007 03:31

Well, he developed UO - right? Sounds like a master thief to me…

Corwin May 23rd, 2007 04:01

Yeah, and he made Akalabeth which sounds like Bethsoft, so he must be responsible for Oblivion as well!! :)

Squeek May 23rd, 2007 04:36

I agree with roqua that the confusion over the term "role-play" is pretty silly. That argument isn't going to end anytime soon, I suspect. I think the disagreement is more about acting than it is about genre, myself. I doubt actors ever immerse themselves into a role the way we do, because while we're playing a game, they're trying their best to perform.

The comments about collecting treasure, pumping attribute points and inventory management I thought were pretty accurate. Most of the people I played D&D with back in 1974 approached the game that way.

Honestly, a lot of the folks I played D&D with were actually pretty dull (not me, of course!!). But they all wanted to have fun and loved it whenever anyone creative showed up to play. A lot of the devs who've been interviewed lately seem like the kind you would definitely want "in your party."

Ionstormsucks May 23rd, 2007 12:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by Role-Player (Post 29470)
In what P&P game can you absolutely create and play a character in the way you want? All P&P systems have their own set of rules and restrictions one needs to adhere to; I can't simply play a Half-Borg/Pint-Elvis/Demi-Call of Cthulhu/Half-Ann Coulter Rock Barbarian Emo Surfer with psyonic powers, the ability to fly and use telekinesis in Dungeons and Dragons, for instance.

As opposed to the choices that are predetermined for you by a Game Master in a P&P session?

You've never really played a good P&P session, did you? Of course you cannot create something completely silly, but you have more or less every freedom you want in a P&P game. Of course you cannot play a cowboy in a RPG that takes place in medieval setting, but within these limits you're fairly free. I can be the valiant knight or the psychopath hunchback - I can play whatever I want. Roleplaying is not about total freedom - it's about relative freedom within a given setting. There are other "limiting" aspects - one being the character that you play, etc., but compared to other forms acting you're comparably free.
CRPGs have a problem in this respect because their technical nature makes that impossible.
Also a good DM will usually not predetermine your choices. I mean, how could he? That the players play along and do not act contrary to the story has more to do with common sense than opposed limits. After all, if you're not willing to experience an adventure, then there won't be one. If you're playing a detective and you get the information that the criminal you're after is in France, but you decided to travel to Italy instead then you'll simply miss the story. You could argue that this is somehow limiting, since the DM expects you to go to France, but it is not the DM that opposes limits on you, it's common sense.

I think what Garriott wanted to express is that in CRPGs you often portray very shallow characters. Take Baldur's Gate for example that most of us would take for a true RPG. How many people do you believe have a clear picture of their character in mind while playing the game? And act accordingly? I think not all to many. Very often people will take decisions within the game based on what is convenient to them, or what reveals the most gold, or best item, or experience, but not based on a character they have in mind. And the game allows you to do that. You can be an evil motherfucker in one moment and in the next you're the guy who goes on a quest to fetch a child's lost dog or something. The alignment that's written down on your digital charactersheet has usually next to no impact.

And very often CRPGs emphasize gameplay elements like the hunt for equipment or character building, even excellent RPGs like BG or PT do that. You find yourself doing hilariously stupid side-quests just for the sake of equipment or experience. This is something that you should not encounter in a good P&P session - if you do, then fire your GM.

Now, once you accept (and I'm not saying that you necessarily have to) that most CRPGs do not give you the possibility to enact your character the way you like, and that this in consequence leads to a very shallow, superficial, or contradictory portrayal of your character, then it's only a small but logical step to abandon the whole concept of free character creation.

And this is basically what Garriott was talking about - the picture that I have of Garrett is quite clear. I simply know what he's like because the game gives me a really good impression of him. I cannot enact him when it comes to dialogue because I'm not supposed to break the coherency of the game world. I can only enact him when he's doing his job - and that's pretty clear… he's a master thief.
And if you think about it - Garriott always stuck to this principle. In Ultima for example, you were playing the Avatar, the keeper of the Virtues. This put you in a certain position and it made the Ultima stories simply more believable. The game started with the premise that your character is a hero. Without doubt a limiting element, but healthy for the story of the game.

Thus said, I have to admit that I'm not sure if this kind of approach allows a re-definition of the genre. But as I said - I can understand what Garriott is aiming at, and I can see his point. It has to do much with how a game feels… and to me Thief in many aspects feels very rpgish.

txa1265 May 23rd, 2007 12:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks (Post 29540)
Take Baldur's Gate for example that most of us would take for a true RPG. How many people do you believe have a clear picture of their character in mind while playing the game? And act accordingly? I think not all to many. Very often people will take decisions within the game based on what is convenient to them, or what reveals the most gold, or best item, or experience, but not based on a character they have in mind. And the game allows you to do that. You can be an evil motherfucker in one moment and in the next you're the guy who goes on a quest to fetch a child's lost dog or something. The alignment that's written down on your digital charactersheet has usually next to no impact.

In other words, how many people would eschew experience / gold / phat lewt in order to play a situation the way that they believe their character would? :salute: I certainly do that, as do many others.

But doesn't bringing that up prove the point - there is freedom to play a pure Paladin, a fallen Paladin, a conflicted Paladin, and so on. In SoFII or Thief you play 'on rails'.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks (Post 29540)
But as I said - I can understand what Garriott is aiming at, and I can see his point. It has to do much with how a game feels… and to me Thief in many aspects feels very rpgish.

It might 'feel' that way, but is it any more of an RPG than STALKER or Rune or Blade of Darkness? I'd say no - heck, Jedi Knight is more of an RPG than Thief.

Role-Player May 23rd, 2007 14:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks (Post 29540)
You've never really played a good P&P session, did you?

On the contrary but feel free to assume otherwise simply because I disagree with you. Questioning other's experience in a given field when that's irrelevant to the discussion never gets old.


Quote:

Roleplaying is not about total freedom - it's about relative freedom within a given setting. There are other "limiting" aspects - one being the character that you play, etc., but compared to other forms acting you're comparably free. CRPGs have a problem in this respect because their technical nature makes that impossible.
Relative freedom is present in both cases. More on this below.


Quote:

Also a good DM will usually not predetermine your choices. I mean, how could he? That the players play along and do not act contrary to the story has more to do with common sense than opposed limits. After all, if you're not willing to experience an adventure, then there won't be one. If you're playing a detective and you get the information that the criminal you're after is in France, but you decided to travel to Italy instead then you'll simply miss the story. You could argue that this is somehow limiting, since the DM expects you to go to France, but it is not the DM that opposes limits on you, it's common sense.
Common sense dictates that the DM has to introduce limits to what you, as a player, can do - otherwise colaborative storytelling will risk becoming erratic and consequences for each meaningful player choice will become too daunting to track and implement into the narrative. That is a limit one must accept but a limit nonetheless. The only difference in the scenario you propose from a CRPG perspective is that in a standard electronic emulation of that particular situation, the most likely thing to happen is that players do not get the choice to travel to Italy since France is where the game must go in order to progress. But just because you can't make that irrelevant (from a narrative perspective) choice in a CRPG doesn't mean you are more limited than what you would be if you were able to do it in an ongoing P&P session where the DM *wants* the story to flow his way - both would lead to a roadblock where the story would be on hold until you got back on the right track.

This isn't to say CRPGs aren't limited but some limits often held against them are no different than those in P&P - the only difference is that the puppet strings are much more noticeable in the former. But they exist in both.


Quote:

I think what Garriott wanted to express is that in CRPGs you often portray very shallow characters. Take Baldur's Gate for example that most of us would take for a true RPG. How many people do you believe have a clear picture of their character in mind while playing the game? And act accordingly? I think not all to many. Very often people will take decisions within the game based on what is convenient to them, or what reveals the most gold, or best item, or experience, but not based on a character they have in mind. And the game allows you to do that. You can be an evil motherfucker in one moment and in the next you're the guy who goes on a quest to fetch a child's lost dog or something. The alignment that's written down on your digital charactersheet has usually next to no impact.

And very often CRPGs emphasize gameplay elements like the hunt for equipment or character building, even excellent RPGs like BG or PT do that. You find yourself doing hilariously stupid side-quests just for the sake of equipment or experience. This is something that you should not encounter in a good P&P session - if you do, then fire your GM.
The failings of the players are not necessarily the failings of the system. That's like blaming powergaming because role-playing games use character sheets, when it's entirely up to the players to avoid that approach.


Quote:

Now, once you accept (and I'm not saying that you necessarily have to) that most CRPGs do not give you the possibility to enact your character the way you like, and that this in consequence leads to a very shallow, superficial, or contradictory portrayal of your character, then it's only a small but logical step to abandon the whole concept of free character creation.
I'm not sure a free character development is necessarily tied to free character creation - both CRPGs and P&P can present premade characters to players and let them role-play these personas as they see fit within limits. Planescape: Torment is an example of a situation no doubt everyone who plays P&P has encountered on some story-driven sessions: players take on the mantle of a predetermined character which they did not create and role-play him effortlessly.

Regardless, I disagree with a perceived inability to enact my character the way I like in CRPGs. You can take Baldur's Gate and, to use txa1265's example to illustrate this, can very much role-play different flavors of Paladin: a pure Paladin, a fallen Paladin, a conflicted Paladin, and so on. When you decide your Paladin won't ever rely on equipment dropped by slain enemies because it's not an honourable thing to do, you're enacting the role. When you decide to rush your naive Paladin against a hobgoblin horde without waiting for the spellcaster in the group to improve his chances by magical means, you very much are creating - and playing - that role.

If there is one pervasive limitation present in all CRPGs (and ironically, also in Thief) it comes down to the game's inability to understand - and present coherent and satisfying feedback - to the role you're trying to play, unless the game is designed and programmed to do so. You can play a role but you can't always validate it. Much as in P&P you create the character, assign a personality and play the game accordingly - but the game will always come up short of understanding the meaning you give to your character's actions; it can only work on with the (admitedly limited) meanings it has been developed with.

txa1265 May 23rd, 2007 14:38

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks (Post 29540)
Also a good DM will usually not predetermine your choices. I mean, how could he? That the players play along and do not act contrary to the story has more to do with common sense than opposed limits. After all, if you're not willing to experience an adventure, then there won't be one. If you're playing a detective and you get the information that the criminal you're after is in France, but you decided to travel to Italy instead then you'll simply miss the story.

You need to spend some time with DMotR … ;)

Ionstormsucks May 23rd, 2007 18:59

Quote:

Originally Posted by Role-Player (Post 29567)
On the contrary but feel free to assume otherwise simply because I disagree with you. Questioning other's experience in a given field when that's irrelevant to the discussion never gets old.

I'm sorry I did that, I know it's unfair, but I have the feeling that in this case it actually does play a role. Simply because it is almost unbelievable that someone who had made the experience of a good P&P session would come to the conclusion that it is as predetermined as a CRPG. If you had that feeling then you simply had a poor GM and you were not experiencing a good P&P session. Personally I never encountered a GM that gave me 4 predetermined dialogue choices when dealing with a NPC - an I thank god for that… although with all the RPG-jerks out there I won't deny that there are probably a few of crazy fellows out there who do it like that.

Quote:

Common sense dictates that the DM has to introduce limits to what you, as a player, can do - otherwise colaborative storytelling will risk becoming erratic and consequences for each meaningful player choice will become too daunting to track and implement into the narrative. That is a limit one must accept but a limit nonetheless.
I don't agree, at least not fully. It is not the GM that imposes rules. It is common sense. I have never ever experienced that a GM told me or anyone else, "you cannot do that," unless it was somehow physically or logically impossible. To be more specific - the horror scenario for a GM is often that characters go seperate ways. A really bad GM will tell you that you cannot do that. A good GM will either find a way to keep the characters together or to somehow unite them again, or if the situation allows it, will let them go separate ways for some time. It's all about the GM really, a bad GM will insist on playing the story he has prepared - a good GM however will adapt to changing circumstances. He might even change or abandon his own story in the course of the campaign. A CRPG is simply not able to do that. It is - without doubt much more predetermined. You only get a certain selection of dialogue choices, or ways to act in a given situation. Even if the player could imagine to solve the situation in a different way it's impossible to do it. The difference between P&P and CRPGs is all to obvious in this respect - In P&P I can tell the GM a story he does not know yet. In a CRPG the GM does know every single story I could tell him.

But anyway, I think we're getting a bit off track here since beginning to discuss the the differences between CRPGs and RPGs on a very general level and that's not really what we were talking about in terms of Richard Garriott. I have to admit that is partly my fault, after all I brought in the P&P aspect. But I didn't bring it in without reason. I think it's a critical point in understanding where Garriott is coming from, and what he wants to say. According to himself he has a P&P background, so it's safe to assume that he is influenced by that.

His line of argumentation is simply not as bad as you'd think on first glance. That doesn't mean that he's right in everything he's saying, but he's also not totally wrong. His approach is simply different from that of many other people. It's a matter of what aspect of the RPG genre you're emphasizing. Is it freedom, or is it immersion? If you're emphasizing freedom you'll end up with Baldur's Gate, because as limiting as it is, it gives you more freedom than Thief. But if you emphasize immersion, then at least from my point of view Thief does a way better job. And this again has to do with the fact that I'm having a clear picture of the character I am playing which comes at price of freedom. I have neither created him, and freedom is even more limited than in Baldur's Gate. The big advantage is that the story that is conveyed to me is consistant with the character I'm playing. And that again creates Immersion.

That doesn't mean that everyone has to share that view, but that was never the point anyway. Garriott was giving his personal opinion on the defining element of the CRPG genre, and that's of course a highly subjective matter.

Yeesh May 23rd, 2007 22:24

Freedom or immersion, you distinguish them excellently. Yet neither is essential to a CRPG. I've come around on this question of how to define the genre; my position used to be that since it's easy to put together a definition that's technically correct by taking note of the features common to games we all call CRPGs (and features which when implemented earn the game the suffix "with RPG elements"). That approach produced an answer which would satisfy no one in this thread, which didn't and doesn't bother me. However, my new stance is that this is just a stupid thing to talk about. Stupid but fun.

CRPGs are called RPGs not because they involve roleplaying, but because they SIMULATE playing pen and paper RPGs; the same way sports games don't involve sports and shooters don't involve shooting. I don't understand why people have so much trouble with this simple distinction. Let me repeat it: you don't drive in a driving game, you don't fly in a flying game, and you don't roleplay in a CRPG. You just do the (very fun) computerized version of these activities.

Consider: Want to roleplay? Playing WoW on a RP server is a LOT closer to roleplaying than playing WoW on a regular server. But it's the same game. The roleplaying has nothing to do with the mechanics of the game. See? But games are divided into genres based on gameplay, not on how you act when you play them.

In an SP game, you can "roleplay" all you want, but anything you do (from reading all your char's dialogue aloud in a funny accent, to purposefully never stealing from NPCs of a certain race, to never wearing a helmet because you fancy a character who's obsessed with his hair) IS EXTERNAL TO THE GAME. And yes, in that sense, you'd might as well be doing it in Super Mario Brothers. And by the way, that's fine; "roleplaying" in our imagination is a device that plenty of us use to make games (especially those that are very character-focused) even more fun.

But the game you're playing doesn't require you to do any of these things. In cases where a CRPG does require you to make a (seemingly) moral choice and experience consequences, that's a cool element. But it's not inherent or exclusive to CRPGs; it can happen just as easily in other genres. And that means it couldn't possibly be the defining factor that distinguishes CRPGs as a genre.

Squeek May 23rd, 2007 23:12

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yeesh (Post 29641)
CRPGs are called RPGs not because they involve roleplaying, but because they SIMULATE playing pen and paper RPGs; the same way sports games don't involve sports and shooters don't involve shooting. I don't understand why people have so much trouble with this simple distinction.

Well, I'm having a little trouble understanding your conclusion, despite that distinction and those examples (sorry). Isn't simulation a tool that benefits thinking?

I don't get how using a computer means you're not doing what you're doing. We're really having this discussion, right? We're not just simulating it? Would this be more real if everyone were speaking face-to-face? Are these our real opinions or phonies?

I'm being coy, of course, but CRPGs seem like role-playing games to me, despite their being played using a computer. Honestly, I think genre confuses some people, and the author is a perfect example of that. He referred to Ultima Underworld as a sort of RPG/FPS genre mixer. But there was no such thing as FPS at the time (in fact, the pioneers of FPS credit UU for their inspiration). If someone were to create yet another overlapping genre, would UU have been an even bigger genre mixer? At the time it was only a CRPG.

A lot of these genre conclusions are a result of black-and-white thinking. Some conclusions just don't add up when it's all one way or all the other. For instance, I live in California and also in the US. Is that a contradiction? Does that mean when someone lives in the US they're also living in California?

Ionstormsucks May 23rd, 2007 23:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yeesh (Post 29641)
CRPGs are called RPGs not because they involve roleplaying, but because they SIMULATE playing pen and paper RPGs; the same way sports games don't involve sports and shooters don't involve shooting. I don't understand why people have so much trouble with this simple distinction. Let me repeat it: you don't drive in a driving game, you don't fly in a flying game, and you don't roleplay in a CRPG. You just do the (very fun) computerized version of these activities.

You're just taking the whole question to a more abstract level - that's all. As soon as you're saying that CRPGs try to simulate P&P rpgs you'll have to specify how they are trying to achieve it. And then you'll end up with drawing parallels between RPGs and CRPGs and their defining features - pretty much what we tried in our previous posts.

roqua May 23rd, 2007 23:51

So where does that leave us? If we ask the right questions we might find the right answer. What makes an rpg different from any other game or form of entertainment? What is the purpose of rpgs and why were they created? We can answer these, so we get our answers. But the answers are not what we want to hear, since we have a problem accepting that most of our favorite games are not rpgs, and we don't actually want more crpgs to be made. We just want games with stats and dialogues and we want to call them rpgs. Thats fine, people want what they want and like what they like, but why not be honest about it?

I like the external argument, and I agree. Same as in p&p. A lot of it has to be imagined, but we don't want to imagine anymore. The devs imagine for us.


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