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Default Rampant Games - Returning to Base

March 19th, 2011, 14:11
In his latest RPG design musings, Jay Barnson looks at the "home base" concept:
Many computer role-playing games (CRPGs) have a concept of a “home base” for the player – a safe location to return to in order to rest, heal, trade, advance, acquire and complete quests, and so forth. The actual location may change as the game advances, but these safe spots (which may literally be “save spots” in games with limited save points) get returned to again and again by PCs.
While not universal (especially in modern CRPG design), I’m hard-pressed to think of another genre that commonly features this kind of mechanic.
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March 19th, 2011, 14:11
While not universal (especially in modern CRPG design), I’m hard-pressed to think of another genre that commonly features this kind of mechanic.

First thing that came to mind was the Wing Commander games, and most combat flight sims in general. In WC you had to go back to the base ship for repairs (healing), advance, and to get new missions (quests).

I like being able to save anytime, anywhere - not limited save points. I especially dislike games that restart you at the beginning of the level. There were a couple times in Diablo II where I had to backtrack 15 minutes to get to the point where I had died, and some games even make you go through a cutscene or dialog again after dying. Going over the same ground multiple times gets boring fast. A recent example would be the PS3 game Demon's Souls - when you died you started over at the beginning of the level with all monsters respawned, even if you died at the boss fight at the end of the level.
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March 19th, 2011, 17:04
As a flight sim fan - and having taken the term from military-style sims - I am embarrassed for writing that sentence now. Yeah. Flight sims. Duh.
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March 19th, 2011, 20:31
Yes, X-Wing as well. And TIE Fighter.

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March 19th, 2011, 21:44
Although generally, in those games, the location was really more of a main menu. But in games like IL-2 or Falcon 4.0, in a dynamic campaign it did get a bit more real when you were on the defensive.
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March 20th, 2011, 00:13
Yes, of course it was kind of a "main menu". In "Alliance" it rather looked like a base, that was an improvement, imho.

And in TIE Fighter, it … rather tried to look like a base, as well, especially that brieving screens …

Sad that they don't do these excellent games anymore … LucasArts, I mean … And especially not for the PC platform …

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March 20th, 2011, 02:24
It's not Star Wars —- they are all their own games —- but you can check out Star Wraith's Games. There's also Starshatter, another indie game, and — well, these are more Elite / trading style, but there's the X series (X3: The Terran Conflict, etc).

If you never played Freespace 2, GOG.COM has it (very much inspired by the Wing Commander and X-Wing / Tie Fighter series), as well as a few other space combat sims that might scratch the itch.
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March 20th, 2011, 03:36
Wing commander was especailly awesome(tm) when it came to home bases….I'm not sure which one it was (played them all) but if you were losing there was actually damage to the main ship.

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March 21st, 2011, 05:31
I also think of the first two Resident Evil games in particular (for that series) when the concept of a safe-house arises. Simply making it to an area where saving is possible has its own musical theme, which made it memorable and gave it a sense of the familiar and safety.

My favourite base camp concept is probably from Bard's Tale III - the Refugee camp. There was just nothing more exciting than returning from a long dungeon haul and making it back to camp with one or two hp and no spell points left, having to flee the last few random encounters…

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March 21st, 2011, 06:27
You forget one important thing!! All your Base are belong to us!!!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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March 21st, 2011, 09:58
I generally don't even play games that don't have a fairly liberal saving system. I can accept not being able to save in combat, but that's about it.

As for home bases? I like the idea, especially if it's turned into something of a gameplay element, like the castle in NWN2 or the mansions in Morrowind. I also like the faction/base system in BG2 where you get a different "home" based on class, as it adds replayvalue.
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March 21st, 2011, 10:43
I really miss those days when you went out adventuring and had to return to town to stock up with supplies and save. Fortunately there are still some J-rpgs which keep the flag high.
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March 21st, 2011, 16:21
Bioware was the first thing that came to mind for me. They've been doing the home base thing for quite awhile.


Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
I generally don't even play games that don't have a fairly liberal saving system. I can accept not being able to save in combat, but that's about it.
Now I know why you seem to finish everything so quickly.

I'm actually the exact opposite. I hate when games are too liberal about saves, or do an auto-save every five minutes. I actually limit myself to saving only so often. It heightens the sense of challenge, and make most games more enjoyable for me.
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March 21st, 2011, 16:41
I am a save addict. I don't mind in the mission oriented games (like the space sims) that you can't save during the mission, but in RPG's, I wanted to save non stop. I just don't like repeating story/content to get back to the place I'm having trouble with. I'm ok with not saving during combat, but I want to be able to save just before and right after and keep going forward.

I like the home base concept, but I'm not sure I've seen it done to a point where it is perfected. The castle in NWN2 was interesting, but with the liberal amounts of gold in the game, it didn't really seem like you had to make any real choices in rebuilding it. In BG2, I thought most of the quests associated with your home bases added some nice content, so I enjoyed them, but still they weren't integral to the game. I'd really like to see a game where that part of the tactical game is integral to completing the game. It doesn't need to be a show stopper (IE in NWN2 it wouldn't be like you couldn't finish if you didn't rebuild the keep right), but you decisions would make it easier or harder to win, and maybe you could actually loose the base if you neglected it.

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